Ever since the legendary 1904 World’s Fair, St. Louis has been a top choice for artists from around the world to showcase their works. The following are just a few of St. Louis’s more than 20 museums.
Housed in the magnificent Beaux Arts-style Palace of Fine Arts Building, which was created for the 1904 Fair, the Saint Louis Art Museum is among the top 10 U.S. museums in annual attendance. Favorites among the 30,000 works in the free museum’s collection are a 3,000-year-old mummy, several recreated period rooms, suits of armor, Renaissance masterpieces and Impressionist paintings.
The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is one of the leading voices in the world of contemporary art. The Contemporary is dedicated to exhibiting the visual arts and artists of our time and to producing nationally recognized education programs. A non-collecting institution, the Contemporary focuses its efforts on six to eight exhibitions a year, featuring local, national and international, well-known and “newly established” artists from diverse backgrounds. In 2003, the Contemporary moved into new permanent space in midtown St. Louis, an area known as the Grand Center Creative and Cultural District.
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, next door to the Contemporary, is a unique resource for contemplation, enjoyment and study which, through art, its building, its programs and collaboration with other arts institutions, seeks to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the art in the context of architecture. The Pulitzer is housed in a spectacular new building by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
The Missouri History Museum, which was built with proceeds from the 1904 Fair in memory of Thomas Jefferson, houses a variety of exhibits and educational resources focusing on the St. Louis region, the State of Missouri and the American West.
The fourth-most-visited science center in the nation, the Saint Louis Science Center features several exhibits that encourage an understanding of ecology, environment, humanity, technology and space. Popular attractions include a planetarium theater, an aviation gallery, an infomachines gallery, a structures gallery where visitors can rebuild the Gateway Arch, and a 700-foot glass-enclosed bridge over Interstate 64 with inset glass floor panels and radar guns to clock oncoming traffic.
Recently named one of the “World’s 10 Best Public Spaces” by New York-based Project for Public Spaces, the St. Louis City Museum stretches the definition of museum to new and exhilarating dimensions. Built by a team of wildly creative designers and artists, the museum includes three floors of surprising and diverse experiences, including a multi-level enchanted forest, a giant aquarium, an architectural museum, a participatory circus, museums of oddities and more. The museum draws more than 600,000 visitors annually, making it one of the area’s most popular attractions.
With more than 100 exhibits offering hands-on fun for kids ages 1 to 100, the Magic House-St. Louis Children’s Museum was ranked by Family Fun Magazine in 2004 as the No. 1 most appealing attraction for children in the United States — beating out even Disneyland and Disney’s Magic Kingdom.