Certain museums require much more than a plane ride and taxi ride to be completed but will reward visitors with unforgettable memories that will last for a lifetime. CNN Style has picked some top museums, each off the beaten path, providing amazing nature and artistic worth.
Hauser & Wirth Menorca (Spain)
The building is located on the site of an 18th-century Naval hospital. Hauser & Wirth Menorca blends education, art, and conservation. Credit: Courtesy Hauser & Wirth
Swiss Mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth has experience in building museums in adversity places: In 2014, it inaugurated a popular, multi-purpose art centre in Bruton, which is a peaceful town in the English Somerset countryside. It was reported that the centre attracted more than 110,000 people in the year 2019.
In 2021, they did the same thing again, and this time, they leased part of the 18th-century naval hospital on small Illa del Rei, an islet in the vicinity of Menorca located in Spain. With a length of just over 1,000 feet, Illa del Rei is just a 15-minute boat ride away from Menorca’s capital Mahon and provides a breathtaking natural location for 16,000 square feet of the centre that blends conservation education and art.
The highlights include an outdoor sculpture trail with pieces by famous twentieth-century European artists, such as Joan Miro and Franz West, as well as a garden created by Piet Oudolf of High Line fame, which is located alongside the gallery’s buildings that showcase Mediterranean wildlife. People who are looking for Mediterranean food can also get some excellent examples at the on-site restaurant, Cantina.
Messner Mountain Museum (Italy)
Messner Mountain Museum offers unbeatable views of the Alps. Credit: Hufton+Crow/View Pictures/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Mountaineer Reinhold Messner, the first person to climb the 14 peaks above 10,000 meters, began an exhibition in his hometown of South Tyrol, Italy’s northernmost province, in 2006. The museum now has six distinct locations, each one dedicated to mountain tradition and set in spectacular landscapes. However, the one that was the last to be opened is quite unique.
Created by Zaha Hadid Zaha Hadid, the Messner Mountain Museum Corones -named in reference to it being named after the Italian title of the mountain on the mountain it is situated, Kronplatz in the Dolomites — is partially hidden on the mountain’s top and provides stunning panoramas of the Alps starting beginning from Lienz Dolomites in the east to the Ortler in the west, and from the Marmolada located in the south, and finally in the north to the Zillertal Alps in the north.
Inside the concrete structure are exhibits dedicated to the alpinism of the past and designed to give the mountain a new lease of life during the summer months, as tourism is reduced from its peak during the winter ski season.
The Chinati Foundation (United States)
The Chinati Foundation emphasizes works in which art and the land are inextricably connected. Credit: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images
A drive of three hours to the closest airport, The Chinati Foundation is located on the site of 340 acres, an old military base. It was established in 1986 to exhibit works that adhere to the ideals of the foundation’s founding father, American minimalist artist Donald Judd.
Some of them are on display outside, like Juddd’s “15 untitled works in concrete,” each one measuring 8x8x16 feet and comprised of 10-inch thick slabs, and others are kept in repurposed buildings, such as hangars or barracks, and each one is dedicated to a specific artist for the rest of their lives. The artists featured are John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin and Carl Andre. Also, there are temporary exhibit venues normally reserved for large-scale contemporary artworks.
The site is 36 miles away from the Prada Marfa storefront, a fake Prada storefront located in an area of desert. It can actually be described as an art piece by the duo Elmgreen & Dragset, which was a viral internet hit in 2012 after Beyonce posted a photo of her leaping over the art installation on her Tumblr.
Steilneset Memorial (Norway)
The witch’s monument is a tribute to the victims who were burned by the stake in the witch burning in Vardon. Credit: Pierre-Henry Deshayes/AFP/Getty Images
The HTML0 was created by the artist French-American Louise Bourgeois, famous for her spiders and Swiss designer Peter Zumthor, who won the Pritzker Prize, the most prestigious prize, in 2009. This memorial is in Norway’s northernmost city, Vardo.
It is a memorial to the execution and trial of 91 persons who were accused of witchcraft during the 17th century. It is comprised of two buildings. Zumthor’s first, which was constructed, is a 400-foot-long wooden structure with 91 tiny windows that represent the people who were executed, with one lamp hanging from each of the windows. A plaque tells the story of each of the victims.
The other one, designed by Bourgeois, is a smoked glass square with a chair made of metal that spits out flames. The flames reflect in seven oval mirrors arranged on top of it, resembling judges. Both are accessible 24/7.
South Georgia Museum (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands)
South Georgia Museum is a must-see. South Georgia Museum is truly remote and accessible only by sea. Credit: Jayne Pierce
The museum is located in the former whaling dock of Grytviken, located within South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands -a British overseas territory claimed by Argentina. The South Georgia Museum is truly remote; it is located around 800 miles to the east of the Falkland Islands and is only accessible via sea.
There’s no accommodation for visitors on the island, which is why most visitors travel on cruise ships — the most adventurous could charter a yacht from the Falkland Islands or South America. The island hosts around 120 vessels a year, carrying about 10,000 visitors.
The surrounding Antarctic habitat is home to around five million seals as well as more than 65 million nesting birds. Credit: Sarah Lurcock
Following the end of whaling around 1964. The structure which houses the museum was abandoned for over 20 years before it was renovated and made accessible for public viewing in the year 1992. The museum’s exhibits focus on whaling, maritime history, the early background of the island as well as its social and natural history. If this doesn’t sound appealing, then the surrounding Antarctic habitat, where you can find around five million seals belonging to four different species and a breeding population of 65 million birds, is sure to satisfy.
Yayoi Kusama’s 6-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide pumpkin was tragically lost to the sea by a typhoon in 2021. Credit Getty Images/Universal Images Group/Education Images. Images
It is located among 3,000 islands, most uninhabited and situated in the Seto Inland Sea and about two hours from the closest town on mainland Okayama. Naoshima is often referred to as being “Japan’s artwork island. ” It’s not without reason. It is home to various museums and permanent art installations in addition to Japan’s extensively photographed artifacts. It is a six-foot tall eight-foot-wide, eight-foot-wide pumpkin designed by Yayoi Kusama that was tragically swept away into the ocean by the typhoon of 2021. (The destroyed pumpkin has been found and returned to the museum, but it’s not known what time it will be restored).
The island was the idea of billionaire Soichiro Fukutake, who commissioned Pritzker award-winning architectural firm Tadao Ando to serve as the creative director. He also created Benesse House, the island’s principal attraction, which is part hotel and part museum situated in a gorgeous park and featuring artwork created by Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Another must-see attraction is the Chichu Art Museum, home to five Monet artworks from Fukutake’s private collection. The eastern part of the island is The Art House Project, a collection of old houses and workshops transformed into artworks by artists across the globe. Many tourists try to fit visiting the island in a single day. However, it’s worth staying over for the night.
Eromanga Natural History Museum (Australia)
The Eromanga Natural History Museum houses the largest dinosaur fossil collection in Australia. Credit: Eromanga Natural History Museum
Nestled at the foot of the Outback, located in Australia’s farthest town away from the sea, Eromanga, is the named Natural History Museum. It’s about 660 miles to Brisbane (or 870 miles away from Sydney) via some breathtaking routes. There’s also an airstrip for private and charter flights just five minutes from the museum.
It is home to the largest fossil dinosaur collection in Australia and is home to the nation’s largest dinosaur. The Titanosaur, known as Cooper, is believed to be approximately 95 million years old. The name is derived from Cooper Creek and the Cooper Basin located near the museum in which it was discovered. In 2021, it was classified as a species and genus of Titanosaur Australotitan cooperensis.
The museum’s exhibits include some of the largest megafauna, believed to be between 50,000 and 100,000 years old, as well as various microfauna. Although the town has only 120 inhabitants, The museum is equipped with accommodation for visitors, which means you can arrange for a night’s stay.
Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park (Grenada)
It is located in the Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park and can be reached via snorkelling, scuba diving, and glass-bottomed boat. Credit: @jasondecairestaylor
Environmentalist and sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, of English and Guyanese origin, is famous for his ongoing site-specific sculptures set in submerged and tidal marine ecosystems. The initial of these “sculpture parks” was created in 2006, in the waters of Grenada located situated in Grenada, in the West Indies.
The park is known as The Molinere Bay Underwater Sculpture Park, home to 75 works over an area of over 8000 square feet. It is located at depths as deep as 26 feet, making the works accessible via scuba diving or snorkelling as well in glass-bottomed vessels. The sculptures, intended to promote and inspire environmental consciousness, are constructed with pH neutral materials, allowing for natural development.
“Vicissitudes,” featuring a band of children from diverse backgrounds, holding hands is an expression of unity and strength. Credit: @jasondecairestaylor
The most notable is a work titled “Vicissitudes,” featuring a band of children from different backgrounds holding hands. It is intended to symbolize unity and strength. Since 2006, the sculpture has been featured in Mexico, Spain, Indonesia, Norway, the Maldives, France and Australia.
James Turrell Museum (Argentina)
James Turrell Museum James Turrell Museum has nine installations that span the 5,500-foot area. Credit: Eilon Paz/Bloomberg/Getty Images
The only museum in the world dedicated to the amazing light works that American photographer James Turrell created is located at an elevation of around 9000 feet in the city of Colome located, situated in the remote Argentine region of Salta. The museum is located in the vineyard belonging to the Swiss artist and magnate Donald Hess family. The site comprises nine art installations spread across five hundred feet.
The highlights include “Unseen Blue,” a chamber with an opening in the ceiling. It is Turrell’s most renowned style of work, known as”Skyspace. “Skyspace.” It is the biggest in the world and provides spectacular light shows that begin each day at sunset, lasting for about an hour.
The exhibit also features work on paper by Turrell, who has an aviation license and has trained in perceptual psychology. Both could influence the way he alters light, colour and space to make his amazing installation-specific sites and can be found across more than two dozen nations.
Instituto Cultural Inhotim (Brazil)
The Instituto Cultural Inhotim is one of Latin America’s most important outdoor art centres. Credit: Brendon Campos
Established in 2004 by former mining business tycoon Bernardo Paz to house his art collection, it is today one of the biggest art centres that are outdoors in Latin America. The centre is situated in Brumadinho, just 40 miles away from Belo Horizonte. The complex is spread over 140 acres in the Atlantic rainforest and tropical Savannah.
The non-profit organization houses around 700 artworks by more than 60 artists from over 40 countries, such as Helio Oiticica, Yayoi Kusama Anish Kapoor, and Steve McQueen — displayed outdoors and within numerous galleries. The botanical garden houses thousands of rare botanical species across all continents.
The exhibit includes one by American artist Matthew Barney titled “De Lama Lamina” (“From Mud, an Edge”). The installation is located in a geodesic dome in a eucalyptus tree and also houses a huge white tree that is being cut down by a huge agricultural vehicle.