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10 Best Photography Museum Collections in the World

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One of the best ways to improve your photography is to look at the work of accomplished photographers.

Analyzing their photos will teach you more than just reading books about photography.

Here are the ten best photography museums in the world.

1. Foam – Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Foam aims to inform and inspire the widest possible audience. It presents all facets of contemporary photography and organizes a range of activities. From exhibitions to publications, debates, and educational projects.

Many activities take place from within the Amsterdam museum. For specific projects, they will also go abroad to reach an international audience.

Another important activity is scouting emerging talent. Definitely one of the best photography museums in Europe.

Foam photography museum - Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
© Pixabay

2. The Museum of Contemporary Photography – Chicago, USA.

Founded in 1976, the MoCP is a college art museum dedicated to photography. They try to generate ideas by creating a dialogue among students and artists.

This photography museum organizes groundbreaking exhibitions. Its collection includes more than 15,000 objects by over 1,500 artists.

3. The International Center of Photography – New York, USA.

Another great photography museum in the United States. It was founded in 1974 to preserve the legacy of “concerned photography”. This means photography focusing on socially and politically minded images.

ICP also offers an open forum for dialogue about the role that photographs play in our society. All very interesting in today’s digital age.

The Statue of Liberty in New York - best photography museums
© Pixabay

4. Lianzhou Museum of Photography – Lianzhou, China.

Great photography museums don’t just exist in Europe or the US. Opened in 2017, the Lianzhou is the first state-funded photography museum in China.

It’s located in a small mountain city on the fringes of the developed Pearl River Delta. That’s what makes this modern photography museum so unique.

It also helped to spark the revitalization of the old center of Lianzhou. They aim to exhibit, collect, and research Chinese and international photography.

5. Fotomuseum Winterthur – Winterthur, Switzerland.

Here’s one of the younger photography museums. Fotomuseum Winterthur was founded in 1993. Collecting contemporary photography has become an important aspect of their work.

It contains work from the 1960s to the present. Their collection can be viewed online but I recommend a visit next time you’re in Switzerland.

Aerial cityscape of Switzerland - best photography museum collections
© Pixabay

6. The Photographers’ Gallery – London, UK.

Of course, we can’t forget London. The Photographers’ Gallery was founded in London’s Covent Garden in 1971. It was the first public photography gallery in the UK and presents photography in all of its forms.

It opened its new home in Soho in May 2012 in an old textiles warehouse. The Photographers’ Gallery is the UK’s leading photographic gallery with international impact.

7. Les Douches Gallerie – Paris, France.

Les Douches is one of Paris’s best-kept secrets. A must visit for anyone who’s interested in architecture, history, or photography. It’s located in what was once a public bath built in the 1930s.

This excellent gallery features contemporary and historic photography. The common themes are documentary style and experimental photographic work​. A must-visit photography museum.

A view from underneath the eiffel tower - best photography museum
© Pixabay

8. Thessaloniki Museum of Photography – Thessaloniki, Greece.

The Thessaloniki Museum of Photography is the only museum dedicated to photography in Greece. They organise an international photography festival every two years.

The museum was founded in 1998 and now located in Warehouse A on the First Pier of the Port of Thessaloniki. It features a permanent historical and contemporary photography collection.

They also organize educational activities for an audience of all ages.

9. Portuguese Center of Photography – Porto, Portugal.

The Portuguese Centre of Photography was founded in 1997. It’s located in a former 18th-century prison, the Cadeia da Relação, which was in use until 1974.

The permanent exhibits include the National Collection of Photography.

This collection consists of historic cameras and photographic equipment. They also feature contemporary Portuguese and Brazilian photography. On top of that, you can enjoy some excellent views overlooking Porto.

Portuguese Center of Photography - Porto, Portugal.
© Pixabay

10. Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography – Tokyo, Japan.

Let’s end our journey around the world in Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography is located in Yebisu Garden Place.

It was one of the first photography galleries in Japan not to be dedicated to the works of a single photographer.

Most of the exhibitions are themed rather than devoted to a single photographer. It even holds exhibitions of anime and video games. Only in Japan.

Conclusion

There is so much to discover in the world of photography, even when you’re traveling. If you ever take a trip to one of these cities, don’t forget to visit their photography museum and learn from the best.

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