With some 8,000 objects on display over nearly 330,000 square feet, this sprawling landmark warrants a visit—but you'll want a plan in place before you go. Read on for our tips for what to see and how.

By Lila Battis
April 19, 2016
Paulo Amorim

For the First-timer

Spend an hour or two with the Dutch masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals) in the department of 17th-century Golden Age art. Then see the model ships and weaponry—incredible craftsmanship, and a nice change after all the paintings. End in the library: three floors, spiral staircase, might make book lovers cry.

Return Trip To-dos

See the Asian Pavilion for works amassed by 17th-century Dutch traders—for centuries the only Europeans doing business with isolationist Japan. The collection is one of the best assemblages of Asian artwork in the West.

Most Overlooked

Tucked away in the medieval art halls are a series of tiny 16th-century prayer nuts, rosary beads prized by wealthy congregants. Their size makes them easy to miss, but the intricately carved patterns and microscopic biblical scenes warrant a closer look.