With the world-renowned Louvre in Paris bursting at the seams with visitors and New York's mecca of modern art, MoMA, soon due to close its doors for a four-month renovation, museum lovers will have to get creative when it comes to planning their next cultural circuit. Not to fret, we have you covered with an exclusive round-up of some of the lesser-known but equally fabulous spots around the world for soaking up art, culture and history...without the crowds!
The Boros Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Housed within a colossal converted Reichsbahnbunker (World War II bunker) The Boros Gallery in Berlin is a wonderful gallery showcasing a large private collection of contemporary art. Spread across five floors in a series of interconnecting rooms, some of the spaces have been transformed into classic white cubes while others still bare traces of the bunker's lineage and its multiple uses across time from a prison and storage facility to a techno club. Book a visit online and enjoy guided tours from Thursdays through Sundays.
Museo La Congiunta, Giornico, Switzerland
Just outside of the picturesque village of Giornico in the south of Switzerland, is an extraordinary museum filled with sculptures of human figures designed by the artist Hans Josephsohn. Open all year round, what makes this secret museum so special is its intimacy. Worlds away from the crowds of the Louvre, you can experience the art completely alone. Simply pop into the village, pick up a set of keys from one of its cafes and unlock a hidden world of reliefs and sculptures spanning from 1950 to 1991.
Musee Nissim de Camondo, Paris, France
A little-known art space in Paris, the Musee Nissim de Camondo, located on the edge of Parc Monceau, contains a superb collection of French decorative arts, sculptures, and paintings. Maintained as if it were still a private home, the building - a supremely elegant 20th century mansion - is a work of art in itself, offering visitors the chance to step back in time and explore the exuberantly decorated rooms filled with tapestries, shining silver table settings and intricate crystal chandeliers. Perfect for history buffs, you can learn the stories of the family who lived there and their tragic link to the First and Second World Wars.
Shanghai Museum of Propaganda Posters, Shanghai, China
In keeping with our theme of lesser-known museums around the world, The Shanghai Museum of Propaganda Posters is famously hard to find. Located in the basement of an apartment block in a suburb of Shanghai, a few scant signs will direct you to the museum if you know where to look. What started out as a small private collection has now grown into an extensive museum incorporating more than 5,000 individual prints that tell the story of the first 30 years of the People's Republic of China from scenes of battle and conflict, to ones of peace and prosperity. A must-visit if you're in this mega-city, and an intriguing insight into China's history, culture and identity.
U'mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, Canada
Tucked away in the small village of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, U'mista Cultural Centre is one of the longest-operating and most successful First Nations cultural facilities in British Columbia. Displaying a range of cultural artefacts including a beautiful collection of Potlatch masks and an extensive art gallery, this under-the-radar museum celebrates the culture of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw (Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast) and has sparked a general trend toward repatriation of First Nations.
Museum of Trash, New York, USA
The well known saying "One person's trash is another person's treasure" is the inspiration for the New York City's Treasure in the Trash Museum. Located on the second floor of a nondescript East Harlem warehouse, the museum features countless tossed-out items, curated by former sanitation worker Nelson Molina. From family photos and furniture to a vintage movie projector and a steel plaque from the World Trade Center, this chapel of curiosities celebrates the things we usually overlook and transforms them into art.
Arranged into groups by type, theme, or colour, the museum is a feast for the eyes and given that the museum now fills an entire warehouse floor, there's a good chance you'll find plenty to fulfil your artistic appetite.
Museum of Hunting and Nature, Paris, France
In a city with no shortage of highly specialized museums, Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature) finds its own niche. Tucked around the back of the national archives in Paris's Marais district, this quirky collection features everything from stuffed gorillas and animal skulls to famous still life paintings and hunting paraphernalia. Examining the relationships between humans and the natural environment through the traditions and practices of hunting, the museum is as thought provoking as it is strange and has received abundant praise from many who have visited.