Five Oldest Museums

This article is a short article based off of my ‘Establishment Dates of Museums’ article. There may be museums older than the five I have included, however, these five are the oldest that I have been able to somewhat confirm.

1 – Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are a collection of Christian and art museums which display around 20,000 out of their total appx. 70,000 artifacts. The museums are located within the Vatican City and typically have their origins traced to a marble sculpture from 1506. If you Google when the Vatican Museums were established, you may find that Google says ‘1506’. This establishment date is due to the discovery of ‘Laocoön and His Sons’, which has been on display in the Vatican ever since.

The Museum Christianum was established sometime after the 1700s. Museo Pio-Clementino founded in 1771. Museo Chiaramonti was established in the early 1800s. Museo Gregorian Etrusco was established in 1836. The Lateran Museum was established in 1854. The Vatican Historical Museum established was in 1973. A few notable items in these museums are the Gallery of Maps, The Sistine Chapel, and the Raphael Rooms.

2 – Venice National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum was established by Cardinal Domenico Grimani in 1523. This museum in Venice contains a vast collection of Roman and Greek items. Today, there are Assyro-Babylonian, Greek, Tuscan, Roman, and Egyptian items on display. It is the second oldest recognized museum.

3 – Uffizi Gallery

The Galleria degli Uffizi is an art museum in Italy. This gallery was established in 1581. It has been open to the public since 1765. It officially became a museum in 1865. Some notable artists’ works which are featured in this museum are Michelangelo’s, Raphael’s, da Vinci’s, and Rembrandt’s.

4 – Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa

The Natural History Museum of the University of Pisa was established by Grand Duke Ferdinand I of Tuscany in 1596. Since the 1970s, this museum has been in the Carthusian Monastery of Calci. It is a part of the Athenaeum Museum System. Some of the galleries in the museums include an aquarium, a dinosaur court gallery, a whale gallery, and a mineral gallery.

5 – Royal Armouries Museum, London

The origins of the Royal Armouries Museum in London are traced to an inventory dated to 1660. The museum was visited throughout the 17-20th centuries before officially being established in 1983. It is one of the oldest institutions of the Tower and London.

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