There are more than 35,000 museums in the United States, according to a figure released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. That means there’s more than twice as many museums in the country as there are McDonald’s restaurants — a staggering figure.
To narrow that enormous number down to the best museums across eight categories, from history museums to science museums, we tasked an expert panel with nominating their top picks. Now, it’s your turn to decide the winners by voting for your favorites.
You can vote once per category, per day until voting ends on Monday, February 12 at noon ET.
Click on each category below to vote:
Best Children’s Museum
Keep the kids engaged at the best children’s museums — Photo courtesy of monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus
It can be a challenge to keep kids entertained, especially on rainy days that limit what you can do outdoors. Luckily, these 20 museums — nominated by an expert panel as the best in the United States for families — offer interactive and engaging experiences that enthrall and educate kids and adults alike.
Which children’s museum is a must-visit spot?
Vote: Best Children’s Museum »
Best Free Museum
Some of the best museums are totally free — Photo courtesy of SeventyFour / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Some of the nation’s most captivating, enriching, and enlightening museums have one great thing in common: admission is free. These 20 museums, which have been nominated by an expert panel as the best free museums in the U.S. are no exception, offering priceless experiences at no cost to visitors.
Which free museum do you think is the best?
Vote: Best Free Museum »
Best History Museum
Step back in time at the top history museums — Photo courtesy of AzmanJaka / E+
Whether you’re interested in American history or millennia of human history, you can learn a lot about the past with a visit to one of these incredible history museums, nominated by an expert panel as the best in the country. Some have broad, encyclopedic collections, while others are specific to a certain historical moment.
Which history museum would you most like to explore?
Vote: Best History Museum »
Best Music Museum
Enjoy all facets of music, from the science of sound to music history, at these music museums — Photo courtesy of chaunpis / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The United States has been the birthplace of numerous musical genres, and some of the world’s most famous singers, songwriters, and performing artists have gotten their starts here. These 20 museums — selected as the best in the U.S. by an expert panel — celebrate American musical history, through the lens of a specific artist or genre, or with a big-picture approach.
Which music museum would you most like to check out?
Vote: Best Music Museum »
Best Open Air Museum
Immerse yourself in these open air museums — Photo courtesy of Greg Kelton / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Open-air museums are a fantastic way to experience history and culture in a natural setting. These 19 museums, selected as the best in the country by an expert panel, offer visitors the opportunity to see how people lived, worked, and played in different times, featuring historic buildings, artifacts, and activities that help recreate the past.
Which open-air museum would you most like to experience?
Vote: Best Open Air Museum »
Best Pop Culture Museum
Which pop culture museum is your favorite? — Photo courtesy of Jiyi / iStock / Getty Images Plus
America has long been a hotbed of pop culture, and these museums — nominated as the best in the U.S. by an expert panel — celebrate the very best of it, from movies and sports to beloved characters and urban legends.
Which pop culture museum do you think is the best?
Vote: Best Pop Culture Museum »
Best Science Museum
Which science museum gets your vote? — Photo courtesy of monkeybusinessimages // Getty Images
From ancient dinosaurs to futuristic technology, science and natural history come alive at these 20 museums. They’ve been nominated by an expert panel as the best across the country for offering engaging exhibits, hands-on and immersive experiences, and stellar programming.
Which museum is your go-to spot for science?
Vote: Best Science Museum »
Best Small Town Museum
Small town museums have fascinating stories to tell — Photo courtesy of AzmanL / E+
Museums that focus on a small town or region can offer a unique perspective on the history, culture, and identity of a place, and they’re often some of the most interesting places to check out when you’re traveling. These 20 small town museums — nominated by an expert panel as the best in the country — showcase the local stories, traditions, and achievements of an area, providing fascinating community insight to visitors.
Which small town museum would you most like to see?
Vote: Best Small Town Museum »
Remember, you can vote once per day in each category. The 10 nominees with the most votes in each category will be announced on Friday, February 23.