Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
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10 Must-See Movie Museums for Film Fans

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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Reel History

While we may be in the era of streaming, the golden age of cinema still lives on behind the walls of museums across the globe. Although Los Angeles remains film’s epicenter with several top-notch institutions, there’s plenty to see in other corners of the world. Whether your focus is on Hollywood classics, the giants of French cinema, or the post-apocalyptic world of "Mad Max," here are 10 must-see movie museums for history buffs, cinephiles, and casual movie fans.


Related: 50 Iconic Movie Locations Around the World

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
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Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Los Angeles 

Adult Admission: $25


Created by the same organization behind the Oscars, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is replete with cinema history, from movie props and historical artifacts to director-focused exhibitions. It’s not huge by any means at 50,000 square feet (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s buildings across the street span nearly 400,000 square feet), but museumgoers can expect beautiful displays and props from classics like “Star Wars,” “E.T.,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”


Related: Cool Movie and TV Tours Across America

Museum of the Moving Image
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ACMI
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ACMI

Melbourne, Australia
Adult Admission: Free


Although this museum features plenty of exhibits on big feature films (like a “Thor: Love and Thunder” costume exhibition), the ACMI’s centerpiece is a history of the moving image, which takes museumgoers on a journey from ancient shadow puppets to contemporary art. Admission is free, so there’s little excuse to pass up this popular Australian museum. 


Hollywood Heritage Museum
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Hollywood Heritage Museum

Los Angeles 

Adult Admission: $7


This small museum doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s actually a treasure trove of early Hollywood history. The volunteer-run Hollywood Heritage Museum includes archival photographs, movie props, and an exhibit on Cecil B. DeMille, one of the Hollywood film industry’s pioneers.

Ghibli Museum
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Ghibli Museum

Mitaka, Japan

Adult Admission: 1,000 yen ($8)


In Western Tokyo, you’ll find an ivy-covered homage to Japan’s prestigious Ghibli animation studio and its famous co-creator, Hayao Miyazaki. With its design based on a Miyazaki sketch, the whimsical Ghibli Museum features original Miyazaki drawings, a small cinema, and access to a roof garden. Just make sure you buy your tickets beforehand, as this museum gets crowded.

La Cinémathèque Française
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La Cinémathèque Française

Paris 

Adult Admission: $10


Goddard, Truffaut, Tati, Varda … the list of France’s cinema giants goes on. So it’s no surprise the cinema-loving country’s near-century-old Cinémathèque française holds one of the largest archives of film objects and documents in the world. Even if you visit outside of visiting hours, it’s worth going if only for its Frank Gehry-designed building.

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
Wikimedia Commons

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Los Angeles 

Adult Admission: Unknown

While this $1 billion mega museum is still under construction, it’s worth including for its futuristic Ma Yansong-designed building alone. The museum will have 80,000 square feet of exhibition space, two movie theaters, and more than 100,000 pieces from Star Wars director George Lucas’ private collection when it opens in 2023. That said, the museum won’t only cater to lightsaber-wielding Star Wars superfans, as its scope extends to narrative art as a whole.


Related: Destinations Every 'Star Wars' Fan Should Visit

The National Museum of Cinema
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China National Film Museum
China National Film Museum by Carla Antonini (CC BY-SA)

China National Film Museum

Beijing 

Adult Admission: Free


With 20 permanent exhibition halls and 100 years of Chinese cinema history behind its walls, the China National Film Museum is the “world’s largest professional museum,” according to its website. It’s no surprise that this sprawling institution houses one of the most comprehensive collections when it comes to the history of Chinese cinema. Unfortunately, visitors complain about the lack of English-language material, and the country’s ongoing COVID-19 policies preclude international visitors.

Mad Max 2 Museum
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Mad Max 2 Museum

Silverton, Australia

Adult Admission: 10 Australian dollars ($10)


If you’ve always wanted to experience what it would be like to live in the world of the Mad Max series (um, why?), book a trip to Silverton in New South Wales, Australia. That’s not only where “Mad Max 2” was filmed, but it’s also the site of the only Mad Max-exclusive exhibition. The Mad Max 2 Museum includes photographs, costumes, and other objects from the film — all contained within a corrugated iron Mad Max-style building.