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20 Most Popular Museums In The World

After four years on top, a certain legendary Parisian institution is no longer number one.

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1 of 20|#20 Centre Pompidou|Paris, France
2 of 20|#19 National Museum of Korea|Seoul, South Korea
3 of 20|#18 Reina Sofia|Madrid, Spain
4 of 20|#17 National Museum of American History|Washington, DC, USA
5 of 20|#16 China Science and Technology Museum|Beijing, China
6 of 20|#15 State Hermitage|St Petersburg, Russia
7 of 20|#14 National Gallery of Art|Washington, DC, USA
8 of 20|#13 Natural History Museum|London, England, UK
9 of 20|#12 National Palace Museum|Taipei, Taiwan
10 of 20|#11 American Museum of Natural History|New York City, New York, USA
11 of 20|#10 Tate Modern|London, England, UK
12 of 20|#9 Vatican Museums|Vatican City
13 of 20|#8 National Gallery|London, England, UK
14 of 20|#7 Shanghai Science & Technology Museum|Shanghai, China
15 of 20|#6 British Museum|London, England, UK
16 of 20|#5 Metropolitan Museum of Art|New York City, New York, USA
17 of 20|#4 National Museum of Natural History|Washington, DC, USA
18 of 20|#3 Louvre|Paris, France
19 of 20|#2National Air and Space Museum|Washington, DC, USA
20 of 20|#1 National Museum of China|Beijing, China

Picture a museum and odds are you imagine the Louvre – its glittering glass pyramid, the coy expression of the Mona Lisa – yet that iconic museum is no longer the world’s most visited. After four consecutive years with the Parisian institution on top, the 2016 Museum Index, which ranks the most popular museums in the world, has a new number one.

This is the fifth year of the Museum Index from the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM. Museums face a tough competitor – as technology becomes ever-more ingrained in modern lives, entertainment and culture are increasingly available at home, with just a click of a button or a touch of a screen. Yet despite that accessibility, the top 20 museums hit a new high this year of 108 million attendees, exceeding the previous record by over one million guests.

Leading the charge was the National Museum of China in Beijing, which saw nearly 7.6 million visitors and a 3.6% jump in attendance. The report attributes the increase to population size, free admission, and the museum’s location in the major tourist destination of Beijing.

Washington, DC’s National Air and Space Museum also topped the Louvre, ranking second in attendance figures with 7.5 million visitors. The Louvre claimed the third spot with 7.4 million. Rounding out the top five are the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC (7.1 million) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (6.7 million).

For the full list of the world’s 20 most popular museums in 2016, check out the gallery above.

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