Surely you’ve heard of museums like the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Field or the Getty. And that’s primarily due to the fact they’re all located in bigger, more frequented cities such as New York, Washington D.C, Chicago and L.A.

But did you know? Tucked away in our smaller towns are some equally just as impressive museums waiting for you to uncover them?

Inside this post, you will learn about several of them and even get other interesting ideas for more things to do in each city. 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas)

Created by the heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune, Alice Walton, this museum officially opened up to the public in 2011. 

But Walton’s dream really got its start back in 2005 when she first began purchasing items for the museum she envisioned opening in her hometown. She wanted it to portray the spirit of America. 

Carefully designed and pieced together by Moshe Safdie, the museum currently has over 400 pieces on display, and hundreds more in storage. Some works include Andy Warhol’s Dolly Parton and Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter. 

Keep the learning going at these other museums in the area: 

Check out the WalMart Museum, the Museum of Native American History and the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House.  

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams, Massachusetts)

Mass MoCA is one of the biggest centers for contemporary visual art and performing arts in the United States. 

Created inside of what was once a factory building complex, the now repurposed 19th-century brick building is home to all kinds of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues. All different art forms are welcome including, but not limited to, theatre, music, sculpture, dance, painting, and photography. 

They stay pretty busy. Because, additionally, the MoCA also houses art residencies and commercial tenants. For all of their guests, they boast free campus parking, a full-service restaurant, yummy coffee, ice cream, and even a microbrewery. 

Get outdoors next: 

Climb the 4th highest alpine peak in the state at Mount Williams. Or, hike the Hoosac Tunnel– an active railroad tunnel that passes through to scenic Vermont’s Green Mountains. 

Ohr-O’Keefe Museum (Biloxi, Mississippi)

So how did this avant-garde museum dedicated to the eccentric 19th-century ceramicist George Ohr end up in the middle of a Gulf Coast beach town, anyway? 

Who knows. But, not even Hurricane Katrina could stop its construction. In 2005, not even a year into its design, a casino barge slammed directly into the unfinished building during the storm. The museum later opened in 2010.

 Inside you will find a catchy assortment of misshapen and brightly colored pottery from the “Mad Hatter” of Biloxi himself. 


That’s the number of how many casino’s Biloxi has in the area. After you’re done exploring the Ohr-O’ Keefe, check out the nightlife scene. 

Shelburne Museum (Shelburne, Vermont)

This museum, founded by collector Electra Havemeyer Webb in 1952, is quite large, so plan to stay a full day. It’s comprised of 39 different historic building on 45 acres of land. There is an 1871 lighthouse, a jail, a 220-foot 1914 steam locomotive, a one-room schoolhouse and much, much more. Altogether, the buildings hold an astounding 150,000 pieces of object art. 

There is more to see outside too. The buildings are surrounded by 20 gardens, including the Danby Fountain Garden and the Diamond Barn Garden

If you’re staying for several days: 

Don’t miss out on seeing Lake Champlain. It’s the nation’s 6th largest lake. Many people enjoy boating and fishing out there. But even a drive-by would be worth it. 

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum (Alexandria, Virginia)

Go back in Colonial times in this small but magical apothecary located in the yellow building in downtown Alexandria. It operated for several generations as a family-owned pharmacy and then suddenly closed during the 1940’s Depression. However, it has since been preserved, restored, and open for the public to view. Inside you will find the original wooden shelves and cupboards, antique signage, handwritten labels, and assorted glass jars that haven’t been touched in ages. Rumor has it a well-known patron back in its day was Robert E. Lee before he went off into the Civil War. 

History lesson: 

Stop by The George Washington Masonic National Memorial and Carlyle House Historic Park. Then grab lunch at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum– where traditional American fare is served up by colonial actors and musicians perform. 

Have Fun 

Happy Museum Hopping! After this list, check out these museums. And remember, whatever states you end up passing through, you can find affordable hotel deals with the help of our sister site,