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Explore the World in America’s Museums

Visiting museums may be a fundamental part of travel for many art lovers, but many of our nation’s museums allow you to travel far beyond our borders without leaving the country — or even the museum.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Washington, D.C.

After beginning in 1987 with a generous gift of 1,000 works from the private collection of Arthur M. Sackler, the Sackler Gallery has gone on to become one of the most preeminent collections of Asian art in the world, encompassing Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South Asian and Near Eastern art from the Neolithic period through today. The Japanese and Chinese collections alone each comprise more than 10,000 works of art.

From February through December this year, the Sackler is featuring an exhibit on the singular sixth-century, life-sized limestone “Cosmic Buddha,” which is completely covered with carved scenes that can be explored through the interactive, digital exhibit. The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art also houses part of the Institute’s Asian collection; however, the Freer is closed for renovation until 2017.

Museum of Russian Icons

Clinton, Massachusetts

Both unusually focused and unusually located for a world-class museum, the Museum of Russian Icons, less than one hour outside Boston, began as the passion project of industrialist Gordon B. Lankton, who collected icons from Russia until he ran out of space in his home.

While many museums were interested in purchasing Lankton’s pieces, none could promise to exhibit the entire collection at once, so he started what has gone on to become the largest museum of its kind in North America.

Today, the unusual museum walks visitors through themes in the art of Russian icon painting, from its more than 500-year-old St. John the Baptist to room-length icon cycles. Group tours run for one hour minimum, though many visitors prefer more time to take in the intricate, single-strand details on the 180 icons on display.


High Museum of Art


Right in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art is an award-winning, brilliant-white structure from renowned architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano.

In June 2014, the museum opened a newly expanded gallery dedicated to African art, the 4,000-square-foot Fred and Rita Richman Galley, which doubled the museum’s footprint of African art and provided a home for works the museum had acquired over nine years from all over Africa, from Nigeria to Mozambique and Rwanda to South Africa.

The collection includes older pieces, including stone carvings dating back to the fourth century, but focuses on less-often-seen modern and 19th-century artists and crafters. Works from Osei Bonsu, an Asante carver whose work was commissioned by African kings and American presidents, and paper artist Kay Hassan show modern fine art, while hand-spun cloth, headdresses and ivory rattles demonstrate African decorative arts.

Gabi Logan

Gabi Logan is a freelance travel journalist whose work has also appeared in USA TODAY, The Dallas Morning News and Italy Magazine. As she travels more than 100,000 miles each year, she aims to discover the unexpected wonder in every destination.