International Museum Day is recognized and celebrated worldwide May 18 with 30,000 museums organizing activities around the holiday, according to the International Council of Museums.
The holiday, established in 1977, promotes the message that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”
In honor of the holiday, TIME rounded up eight unique American museums to check out this year, from a collection housed in a New York Guilded Age mansion, to a museum dedicated to the craft of espionage.
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