Europe is the leader when it comes to museum culture, with nine of the top 20 visited sites split between London and Paris.
Prepared by analysts at Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM, the 2012 Theme Index ranked the most visited museums in the world last year. With 9,720,000 visitors in 2012, the Louvre trumped every other museum to take the top spot.
Interestingly, while the most popular British museums on the list are free, the most visited museums in Paris including the Louvre, Centre Pompidou and the Musee d’Orsay, require paid admission.
The most visited and highest ranking museum in Asia, meanwhile, is the National Palace Museum in Taipei, which ranked No. 12 on the list.
Here are the top 20 global museums by attendance in 2012:
1. Louvre, Paris, France, 9,720,000
2. National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., 7,600,000
3. National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C., 6,800,000
4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 6,116,000
5. British Museum, London, 5,576,000
6. Tate Modern, London, 5,319,000
7. National Gallery, London, 5,164,000
8. Vatican Museums, Vatican City, 5,065,000
9. American Museum of Natural History, New York, 5,000,000
10. Natural History Museum, London, 4,936,000
11. National Museum of American History, Washington D.C., 4,800,000
12. National Palace Museum, Taipei, 4,361,000
13. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 4,200,000
14. National Museum of China, Beijing, 4,100,000
15. Centre Pompidou, Paris, 3,800,000
16. Musee d’Orsay, Paris, 3,579,000
17. Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 3,232,000
18. National Museum of Korea, Seoul, 3,128,000
19. Geological Museum of China, Beijing, 3,000,000
20. Science Museum, London 2,990,000