Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., USA--Despite their official status as separate entities, these lesser-known Smithsonian museums share one building, the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Overshadowed by the National Gallery of Art (a larger museum established by Congress), the SAAM contains works made in the US by over 7000 artists. The National Portrait Gallery features portraits of historically significant figures, many from the US (although this is not a strict requirement).
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., USA--Opening in 1987, the NMWA is one of few museums with a sole focus on female representation in the arts. Featuring works by famous women such as Mary Cassatt and Madame Le Brun, the museum is worth a visit for anyone interested in women's history. It's also housed in an old Masonic Temple.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., USA--This museum contains a lot of avant-garde and experimental modern art, both inside and out. Notable artists such as Jackson Pollack and Jeff Koons are featured alongside rotating exhibitions. Despite being a Smithsonian museum and a fixture near the National Mall, it doesn't seem to get as much attention as the others. This generally proves positive because it's not nearly as busy as the Air and Space Museum.
Vortex Garden, Darmstadt, Germany--Privately owned but open to the public, this conceptual garden is designed around the ideas of sacred geometry and 'levitational force'. Containing art by world-renowned sculptors, all in the garden surrounding a small house, there's nothing quite like it. Nearby are other works and a larger museum created by the former artists' colony in the area.
Uhrenmuseum, Vienna, Austria--Operated by the Vienna Museum, this building is dedicated to clocks. Yes, clocks. Including both more traditional clocks and more fanciful works such as music machines, it inspires wonder, even in the jaded social critic writing this article.
Ludwig Muzeum, Budapest, Hungary--Aside from the intriguing modern galleries, a large portion of this museum is set up as a theatre and event centre. With pale wood, greenish windows, red carpeting and multicoloured lights on the outside at night, it embodies a splendour rarely seen.
Croatian Museum of Naive Art, Zagreb, Croatia--Not to be confused with native art, naive art is art made by self-taught creators. Featuring a painting of a giant chicken atop a building and a wooden 'turtle frog', the works here are anything but typical. There are also plenty of images of daily country life and notable events that offer insight into Croatia's rich history and culture.
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