The Most Visited Museums In South America

Inside the CCBB in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Editorial credit: LuizSouza /
Inside the CCBB in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Editorial credit: LuizSouza /

South America is a fascinating but less-explored destination. From the Amazon Rainforest to the ruins of the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the continent has a lot of offer to the inquisitive traveler. The continent also has numerous museums displaying exhibits that are treasures for the human race. The most visited museums of South America are, however, mostly located in the major cities where tourist footfall is high. Many of them are part of cultural complexes that also host other attractions and thus draw large crowds. The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro is South America's most visited museum.

South America’s Most Visited Museums

The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Rio de Janeiro

The CCBB of Rio de Janeiro is one of the cultural centers of the Banco do Brasil, the largest banks by asset in Latin America. Other centers are located in Brasilia, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte. The one in Rio de Janeiro is the most visited museum in South America. It received 1,337,566 visitors in 2017. The beautiful art deco building of the CCBB hosts some of the city’s top exhibitions. It was built by restoring a 1906 building. A cinema, two theaters, and exhibits displaying the evolution of the Brazilian currency are the main facilities of the CCBB in Rio. The cultural center remains ever-busy due to a plethora of exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, etc., being hosted there all year round.

CCBB, Brasilia

Another branch of the CCBB, the one in Brasilia, is also a popular cultural venue in the country. It recorded 1,229,432 visitors in 2017. It was established in 2000 and is the smallest of all CCBB branches. The complex was designed by Alba Rabelo Cunha. It is a two-floor architectural complex with different spaces for exhibitions, theater, cinema, music, and other cultural attractions. Many important national and international cultural programs are hosted at this venue.

The Complexo Cultural da República, Brasilia

The third most visited museum in South America, the Complexo Cultural da República, is also located in Brasilia along the Eixo Monumental. The complex comprised of the National Museum of the Republic and the National Library of Brasília. The complex was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, an award-winning architect from Brazil, and was inaugurated in 2006. The museum has a massive exhibit area of 156,000 square feet, a laboratory, and two auditoriums. Most of the art exhibits displayed at the museum are temporary in nature.

Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo

The Instituto Tomie Ohtake is the fourth most visited museum in South America. It is also located in Brazil. It was opened in 2001 with the aim of hosting national and international design, art, and architecture exhibitions. The institute is named after the renowned artist Tomie Ohtake whose contributions to the Brazilian art scene is highly commendable. Other than generating awareness about the art scene in the country among the public, the institute’s various programs and exhibitions are also aimed at encouraging budding young artists to showcase their talent.

The Most Visited Museums In South America

RankNameCityCountryVisitors (2017)
1Centro Cultural Banco do BrasilRio de JaneiroBrazil1,337,566
2Centro Cultural Banco do BrasilBrasiliaBrazil1,229,432
3Museu Nacional da RepublicaBrasiliaBrazil935,168
4Instituto Tomie OtakeSão PauloBrazil895,769

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