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The 15 Most expensive museums in the world

Rijksmuseum AmsterdamUnlike most other travel costs, museum prices are particularly hard to predict until you’ve actually done the research. Many governments and private foundations continue to subsidize museums as a way to make them accessible to all, but that doesn’t happen everywhere, of course.

So here at Price of Travel we’re all about trying to help people calculate their budgets in all the major destinations around the world, and in some cases this can be a tool to actually pick your next holiday. We’ve compared taxi prices around the world, and public transportation prices around the world, with mostly predictable results. This one is a bit different.

For this list we’ve researched and recently confirmed prices at all of the most famous art museums in the world, plus a few less-famous ones in very expensive cities. So the definition we used is an “art museum” where the main feature is the art rather than the building itself. If we were to widen the definition you’d notice that the priciest museums in the world are mostly wax museums, so we are ignoring those here.

The 15 most expensive museums in the world

Normal adult admission price, currency converted as of 11-May, 2017

1 – US$15.21 – Centre Pompidou, Paris (€14.00)

2 – US$16.30 – Louvre, Paris (€15.00)

3 – US$16.30 – Prado Museum, Madrid (€15.00)

4 – US$17.38 – Vatican Museum, Rome (€16.00)

5 – US$17.51 – Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver (C$24.00)

6 – US$18.47 – Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (€17.00)

7 – US$19.01 – Hermitage Museum, Amsterdam (€17.50)

8 – US$19.01 – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (€17.50)

9 – US$22.00 – Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

10 – US$22.00 – Frick Collection, New York City

11 – US$22.82 – Kunsthaus, Zurich (23 CHF)

12 – US$25.00 – Museum of Modern Art, New York City

13 – US$25.00 – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City

14 – US$25.00 – Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago

15 – US$25.00 – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City (suggested admission)

4 very famous museums that are cheaper

US$8.69 – Uffizi Gallery, Florence (€8.00)

US$12.26 – Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (700 rubles)

US$13.04 – Musee d’Orsay, Paris (€12.00)

US$14.59 – Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (C$20.00)

4 very famous museums that are totally free

Free – British Museum, London

Free – Tate Modern, London

Free – J. Paul Getty Center, Los Angeles

Free – National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Notes and conclusions

Louvre Pyramids ParisIt’s a bit surprising to see a pair of Canadian museums charging so much, as they otherwise seem like a country that would subsidize the hell out of them.

London and Washington DC are two cities that are loaded with free (taxpayer supported, really) museums, which helps take the bite out of a visit since both are also extraordinarily expensive in nearly every other way.

Many of the above museums are famous for very long admission queues, like the Vatican Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Uffizi Gallery, and the Louvre, so they could clearly charge more and probably bring in a lot more revenue. It’s nice that they don’t, unless you would prefer to pay more for a shorter wait. In some cases you can book online and skip the queue, which is already a major trend at popular non-museum attractions.

You’ll notice that all of these museums are in Europe and North America. The only other places with overall prices that compare are Australia, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, all of which have cheaper or free museums.

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Le Minh Hieu is a national-level weightlifter and a Singapore Weightlifting sports performance coach. Hieu's biggest passion is helping everyone find confidence, happiness, and health through fitness.


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