The South's Best Museums 2022

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

The South is home to some of the most creative and engaging museums in the country. Home to art and artifacts that span centuries, these museums spark conversations, deepen knowledge, and offer access to astounding works that enliven and challenge those who experience them. The South's best museums explore varied topics—space travel, American history, fine art, and sports among them—and help visitors take a closer look at the world in all of its rich complexity. Their collections are preserved and stewarded by dedicated curatorial staff who put together exhibitions and programming that educate and inspire. Whether you're interested in history, art, science, technology, society, or even baseball, there's a museum in the South that will spark your interest. Step into the galleries, wander the halls, survey the collections, and consider the canvases—you're sure to discover something new.

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10. The Cabildo

Real Life Places That Inspired Disney
Science Source/Getty Images

New Orleans, Louisiana

This Louisiana landmark is a Spanish colonial building near the St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. It dates to between 1795 and 1799, and it's now home to the Louisiana State Museum, where visitors will find artifacts—documents, papers, maps, and paintings—preserved from throughout Louisiana's history.

701 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, louisianastatemuseum.org

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9. Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

Dallas, Texas

The Dallas Museum of Art is home to broad and varied collections of art from many eras and locations. It has around 24,000 works in total, which originate from across 5,000 years of humanity's artistic endeavour. A visit to the museum is an exploration across time, and the visiting exhibitions and changing galleries ensure there's always something new to see at the museum.

1717 N Harwood Street, Dallas, TX 75201, dma.org

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8. The Mint Museum

Charlotte, North Carolina

This Charlotte institution is actually two museums—The Mint Museum Randolph and Mint Museum Uptown. The collections housed in these buildings preserve one of the largest collections in the Southeast and showcase American art, Modern and Contemporary works, craft and design artifacts, Native American art, and European art.

550 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202, mintmuseum.org

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7. Atlanta History Center

The Atlanta History Center, Georgia
Courtesy of the Atlanta History Center

Atlanta, Georgia

Located on 33 acres in Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center is comprised of permanent and temporary exhibitions, historic houses, research centers, and gardens. It was founded in 1926 and in the years since has become a destination for those interested in learning about the history of the South, the city of Atlanta, and the people who built it and continue to help it evolve.

130 W. Paces Ferry Road Northwest, Atlanta, GA 30305, atlantahistorycenter.com

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6. Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Louisville, Kentucky
Courtesy Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

Louisville, Kentucky

Baseball fans will treasure a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, which is located on Louisville's Museum Row. Visits to the institution include explorations of the collection and galleries as well as tours through the working factory, where new Louisville Sluggers are turned out daily. At the end of the factory tour, you'll be presented with a mini bat to keep as a reminder of your experience in Louisville.

800 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202, sluggermuseum.com

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5. The Dalí Museum

The Salvador Dalí Museum
Courtesy Salvador Dalí Museum

St. Petersburg, Florida

You won't soon forget a visit to the Dalí Museum, which is housed in a facility on Dalí Boulevard. The collection includes paintings, photographs, sketches, and manuscripts that share with visitors experiences of surrealism and the avant garde. Don't miss the outdoor "avant-garden," where you can reflect on the works you've experienced during your visit.

1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, thedali.org

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4. Aiken-Rhett House Museum

Aiken-Rhett House Charleston
Rick McKee

Charleston, South Carolina

This Charleston museum is one of the best-preserved townhouse complexes in the South, perhaps in the country. It sheds light on the realities of urban life in Charleston in the Antebellum period and includes the preserved quarters of the enslaved people who lived on-site. The complex is one of the Historic Charleston Foundation's house museums, and in addition to public visits, it is a site for research and documentation of the buildings' social and architectural histories.

48 Elizabeth Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403, historiccharleston.org

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3. National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Alan Karchmer/Courtesy of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Washington, D.C.

The goal of this museum, which is located in Washington, D.C., is to preserve African American history and culture. The museum opened in 2016 as the 19th member of the Smithsonian Institution, and it has a wide-ranging collection that includes 36,000 artifacts comprised of many varied items, among them art, books, musical instruments, and quilts. Images of the collection are available to search and view online, making it accessible to those outside the D.C. area too.

1400 Constitution Avenue Northwest, 1400 Constitution Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20560, nmaahc.si.edu

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2. Space Center Houston

Saturn V Rocket At Johnson Space Center
Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Houston, Texas

A visit to Houston isn't complete without paying a visit to the city's space hub. Space Center Houston is a lively museum, and it's also the official visitor center of the NASA Johnson Space Center, which visitors can see and learn about during a visit to the site. The experience includes exhibits, films, galleries, and a tram tour, as well as a viewing of a replica of the shuttle Independence.

1601 East NASA Parkway, Houston, TX 77058, spacecenter.org

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1. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL
Robbie Caponetto

Huntsville, Alabama

The U.S. Space & Rocket Center showcases the history of the U.S. space program and invites visitors to take a glimpse behind the scenes at the technologies, shuttles, and launches that made space travel possible. The institution also brings space exploration to life through films, simulations, and virtual reality programming. One of its best-loved programs is Space Camp, which invites burgeoning young astronauts to learn about the history of the space program and experience what it's like to prepare for space travel.

rocketcenter.com
Plan your visit.

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