Here is our list of the top five museums in the United States with the best antiquities collections.
1. 1. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Commonly known as the Getty, this museum is divided into two campuses, one of them being the Getty Villa in Malibu. The entire villa is dedicated to ancient art from the Mediterranean and includes multiples theaters for performances. The museum and villa as also associated with the Getty Conservation and Research institutes which host libraries, publishes books, sponsors scholarship, and produces databases
2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York
As one of the biggest attractions in the Big Apple, the Met is a must-see for classicists and art lovers alike. Antiquities are on display based on their geographic location such as the Near East, Africa, Oceana, Americas, Asia, and Europe with highlights on exhibits such as Egyptian and Islamic art. The Met has over a dozen departments dedicated to their curations including not only curators and scholars but conservators and scientists.
3. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA
Commonly known as the Penn Museum, this institution is of world renown. It has conducted hundreds of archeological and anthropological expeditions around the world. The Penn Museum has twenty galleries three floors of art and artifacts from the Mediterranean, Egypt, the Near East, Mesopotamia, East Asia, and Mesoamerica.
4 The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
The MFA is a major museum for a multitude of eras and artistic mediums. As far as antiquities go, the MFA has over 80,000 ancient artifacts, and, as of 2019, is in the top 100 favorite museums in the world. The museum was founded in 1870 and is affiliated with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
5. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Ann Arbor, MI
This museum is a part of the University of Michigan’s central campus and shares a building with the university’s Classical Art and Archaeology department. The Kelsey opened in 1891 and houses over 100,000 ancient and medieval artifacts from all over the Mediterranean and Near East. It also conducts and sponsors archaeological fieldwork, research, and conservation.
Before revealing our favorite museum, let’s give a shout out to some other excellent institutions in the country. If you find yourself in New England, make sure to pop into Yale and Princeton’s art gallery.
If you like anthropology in particular, check out the National Museum of Natural History in D.C. or the Hearst Museum of Anthropology in Berkley if you’re on the west coast.
Finally, my personal favorite has to be the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, MD. Not only does it have an extensive collection of ancient art from all over the Mediterranean and East, but it also has free admission and opportunities to watch the conservators work