Kunstmuseum From Basel to the Vatican, here is a list of the oldest museums

Royal Armor, Tower of London

In existence since 1592, the Royal Armoris is a visitor’s paradise whose collection is remarkable. It was opened to the public in 1660 so that the public could see an exhibition designed to reflect the power of the English monarchy. With 70,000 pieces on display, the collection focuses on weapons and armor, including antiquities from antiquity to the present day.

Kunst Museum Basel

Considered one of the most important museums in Switzerland’s art, it contains some of the world’s oldest art collections. It is listed as a traditional place of national significance and its lineage dates back to the Amberbach cabinet. It contains the largest collection of works by the Holbin family, including Han Holbin the Younger, a German-Swiss painter and printer. It was in 1671 that Basel made the art collection of the Amberbach cabinet universal. In 1823, it joined the Faesch Museum, founded by Remigius Fayes, and later in 1849, it moved to a larger site near Munster in Basel. It relocated to its present location in 1936.

Capitoline Museum

Also known as Musei Capitolini, it is the oldest museum in the world. Located in Rome, it is close to the Colosseum and has a stunning collection of classical art and archeology. Its history dates back to 1471 when several ancient bronzes were donated to the people of Rome by Pope Sixtus IV. Prior to the museum, the collection was housed on Capitolin Hill. When the museum officially opened in 1734, it became the first place in the world to be designed for people to enjoy art.

Ashmolian, Oxford

Oxford University’s Museum of Art and Archeology, The Ashmolian, was founded in 1683. Its iconic collection ranges from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art, revealing stories across geography, culture and timelines. It is free to visit and recently, about 200,000 of its objects have been made available for online search for those who cannot travel to the museum.

Indian Museum

The oldest and largest Indian museum has a very rare collection of mummies, antiques, armor, ornaments, fossils, Mughal paintings and skeletons. It was founded in 1814. Not only in India, the versatile museum is the largest and oldest in the Asia-Pacific region. With its establishment, the museum movement took hold in India and since then, several prominent museums have sprung up across the country. Sir William Jones, a scholar, founded the Asiatic Society in Calcutta in 1784 with the aim of building an educational center for the development of art and culture.

Government Museum

The Government Museum was established in Chennai in 1851. At that time it was known as Madras Museum. It is the second oldest museum in India after the India Museum and one of the largest in South Asia. Its campus is a landmark of the past, spread over six buildings.


The second oldest museum in the world is located near the Vatican Capitoline Museum. Its roots can be traced back to 1506 when the iconic sculpture Laokun and His Sons was erected by Pope Julius II for public display. The sculpture is still on display at the venue. It contains many other invaluable works of art, such as Raphael’s The School of Athens, Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment, and Caravaggio’s Entomment of Christ. The museum is one of the most popular in the world with a daily footfall of about 25,000.

State Heritage Museum

The Museum of Art and Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia is the largest art museum in the world by gallery space, established in 1764. It was then that Catherine the Great acquired a collection of paintings from a businessman in Berlin. The museum’s anniversary is celebrated every year on December 7 as St. Catherine’s Day. The museum opened to the public in 1852, and in 2021, it ranked sixth on the list of the most visited art museums in the world.

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