Besides exploring its eats and treats, museums are a great way to get to know a city’s past and present – and quite possibly, its future. So for International Museum Day (May 18), which has been organised annually since 1977 by the International Council of Museums (ICOM), we’re shining the light on five of the most unique museums to put on your bucket list.
“Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples,” says the ICOM website, with over 37,000 museums from about 158 countries and territories taking part in the event last year.
Whether you’re into shoes, ships or something in between, there’s something for everyone…
Ferragamo Shoe Museum, Florence
Carmen, Marilyn, Sophia – just about every legendary star in the Hollywood firmament had Salvatore at their feet and this Renaissance palazzo on the Arno explores this relationship between cinema and fashion from the ’20s to modern times. Get slung back and strapless.
Get the LUXE Florence guide
Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam
Five-hundred years of Dutch maritime history neatly condensed, plus an awesome replica of an C.18th, Dutch East India Company VOC cargo boat.
Get the LUXE Amsterdam guide
Korea Furniture Museum, Seoul
Bewitchingly beautiful family-run compound offering an original insight into C.19th aristo Korean life. Ten exquisitely preserved, gleaming woody hanok are decked with trad furny, antiques, art and collectables from the owners personal stash. Best bit? Not a leisure suited tourist in sight.
Get the LUXE Seoul guide
The Museum of Innocence, Istanbul
Is it a book about a museum, or a museum about a book? Local Nobel literartus Orhan Pamuk created this novel, curio-crammed cornerhouse in tandem with his forlorn story of the same name. The abode mimics that of Pamuk’s fictional protagonist, Kemal, who compulsively collects and fastidiously arranges everyday items that remind him of his lost love, Fusun – from photos and clocks to keys and cigarette butts. As much a paean to C.20th Istanbul as the melancholy tale itself.
Get the LUXE Istanbul guide
Morgan Library & Museum, New York
Once J.P. Morgan’s private treasure trove, now a vast cultural archive for everyone to enjoy. Marvel at original texts from Dickens, Poe and Wilde among this staggering collection of literature, manuscripts, musical scores, prints and drawings, and sup in the original dining room.
Get the LUXE New York guide
See also: 5 Unique Bookstores Around The World