If you’ve missed it, my Facebook group, Travelers Tell All (yes, please join), has been running tournaments to keep ourselves amused while we can’t travel. We first decided what the best city in the world was, then the best US national park, and then the best man-made wonder. Now it’s time for the best museum. There were no qualifications for who could vote, or criteria they had to use. It was just a plain old popularity contest!

I love museums, and write frequently about them, so this one was exciting for me. Sadly, it didn’t seem as exciting to others, as fewer votes were cast than in the past tournaments.

I divided the tournament into four “regionals,” seeded one to sixteen, and named after four of the muses: Calliope, Clio, Thalia, and Urania. The seeding is fairly arbitrary, made solely by me. Let’s examine the results by regional. I encourage you to look up any of these you haven’t heard of; there are some amazing places in the world!

Italics won in the first round. Underlined italics won in the second round. Bold underlined italics advanced to the regional final by winning in the third round.

Calliope Regional

The Calliope regional first round looked like this:

(1) British Museum vs (16) Instant Ramen Museum

(8) Accademia vs (9) MOMA

(5) National Palace Museum (12) Biomuseo

(4) National Museum of African American History and Culture vs (13) Boston Science Museum

(3) Prado vs (14) Baseball Hall of Fame

(6) Pergamonmuseum vs (11) Gold Museum

(7) Yad Vashem vs (10) Barnes Foundation

(2) Metropolitan Museum of Art vs (15) Musee de l’Art Brut

Biomuseo, the 12 seed, won a match, but otherwise this was a favorites-only bracket, with both the first and second seeds cruising. The Prado won both its matches by a single vote.

Regional Winner: (1) British Museum def (2) Metropolitan Museum of Art

Biggest Surprise: Outside of that sole first round upset, none.

The interior of the British Museum

Clio Regional

The Clio regional first round looked like this:

(1) Vatican Museums vs (16) Mattress Factory

(8) Gemaldegalerie vs (9) Cancun Underwater Museum

(5) National Gallery of Canada vs (12) Cryptozoology Museum

(4) 9/11 Museum vs (13) Tech Museum

(3) Victoria and Albert vs (14) Coach Museum

(6) Henry Ford vs (11) Shrine of the Book

(7) Reina Sofia vs (10) Musical Instrument Museum

(2) Hermitage vs (15) Museum of American Visionary Art

While the top two seeds met in the regional final, the 14 seed Coach Museum in Lisbon caused havoc!

Regional Winner: (1) Vatican Museums def (2) Hermitage

Biggest Surprise: The Coach Museum taking down London’s V&A and Detroit’s Henry Ford on its way to the Sweet 16.

The Coach Museum in Lisbon’s Belem district

Thalia Regional

The Thalia regional first round looked like this:

(1) Louvre vs (16) Museum of Jurassic Technology

(8) Air Force Museum vs (9) Athropology Museum at UBC

(5) Rijksmuseum vs (12) National Archaological Museum of Italy

(4) Egyptian Museum vs (13) Museum of Broken Relationships

(3) Natural History Museum of London vs (14) Field Museum

(6) Musee d’Orsay vs (11) War Remnants Museum

(7) Tokugawa Museum vs (10) Norwegian Folk Museum

(2) Guggenheim vs (15) Casa Azul

As with the Clio regional, the top two seeds met in the final after the 14 seed did some work!

Regional Winner: (1) Louvre def (2) Guggenheim

Biggest Surprise: Fourteenth seeded Field Museum of Chicago taking out the 3 seed London Natural History Museum and then Paris’ Orsay.

The stave church at the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo

Urania Regional

The Urania regional first round looked like this:

(1) Smithsonian vs (16) Vasa Museum

(8) Kunsthistorisches vs (9) Van Gogh Museum

(5) World War Two Museum vs (12) Getty

(4) Uffizi vs (13) National Archaeological Museum of Greece

(3) National Anthropology Museum of Mexico vs (14) Royal Ontario Museum

(6) Museum of Asian Civilizations vs (11) International Spy Museum

(7) Acropolis Museum vs (10) Cite du Vin

(2) Tate Modern vs (15) Iceland Phallological Museum

This bracket got messy quickly, with the 5 and 6 seeds losing in the first round, and second seeded Tate Modern going down in the second round. My favorite museum in the world, the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City got within a vote of the Final Four.

Regional Winner: (1) Smithsonian def (3) National Anthropology Museum of Mexico

Biggest Surprise: The Acropolis Museum handily taking down the Tate Modern in round two.

The HUGE fountain in the courtyard of Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum, my favorite in the world

Final Four

Match One: (1) British Museum def (1) Vatican Museums

Match Two: (1) Louvre def (1) Smithsonian

Final: (1) British Museum def (1) Louvre

I’m not surprised the British Museum came out on top. It is incredible from every standpoint, with a collection that won’t be surpassed until the UK gives stolen treasures back to the countries from which they came (Rosetta Stone, hint hint). What’s your favorite museum in the world?

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