After being unable to travel or visit cultural organisations for most of 2020, many people are looking forward to setting foot in a museum or art gallery again this year. Luckily, there are many new museums that are getting ready to welcome these eager visitors in 2021.
While some of these new museum and gallery projects are on schedule, others were also part of our list of the top new museums and galleries last year. Many have been postponed to 2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is something for museum and art gallery lovers of all types. From music and modern art to literature, history and more. Here’s our look ahead at some of the key new museums for 2021.
Top new museums opening in 2021
1 Humboldt Forum, Berlin
The global pandemic was the latest in a series of delays for this new museum complex in Berlin. Last year, we reported that it would be opening in phases from September 2020 onwards. While it did manage to open digitally at the end of last year, people won’t be able to visit in person until restrictions on cultural institutions opening are relaxed in Germany.
The Humboldt Forum is one of the most expensive culture projects in Europe, at a cost of $825 million. Housed in a reconstructed Baroque palace, the 40,000 metre-square museum will be home to permanent displays on the history of Berlin, as well as exhibitions of non-European ethnological and Asian art.
Franco Stella is the architect behind the reconstruction of the former royal palace, in a project which fuses Baroque and contemporary architecture. As well as the permanent and temporary exhibitions, visitors will be able to enjoy a selection of cafes, restaurants and a rooftop terrace.
Speaking of the eagerly-awaited opening, Hartmut Dorgerloh, General Director of the Humboldt Forum says:
“There will be exhibitions and events, guided tours and talks, dance and film as well as the simple opportunity to enjoy exploring the building and all that it offers. The focus of the programme will be on current socio-political topics right from the outset reflecting Humboldt Forum’s three core themes – the history and architecture of the site, the Humboldt brothers and colonialism and coloniality.”
2 MUNCH, Oslo
Another entry on our list of new museums to watch last year, the Munch Museum has now moved its opening date to summer 2021. This will be a new home for the art of Edvard Munch, located in a brand new building on Oslo’s waterfront.
Once open this will be one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to one artist, with 11 exhibition halls and over 42 000 works of art and objects. It covers an area of over 26,000 square metres and was designed by the Spanish architectural firm Estudio Herreros.
The museum is also part of Oslo’s Future Built program, which includes buildings that feature a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in transport, energy use and material use, compared to similar buildings.
‘The new museum will be fantastic with both our own collections as well as international exhibitions of world format’, says Stein Olav Henrichsen, director at MUNCH.
3 Museum of the Home, London
Another new museum project delayed by COVID-19, the Museum of the Home is now expected to open in 2021. Formerly known as the Geffre Museum of the Home, it has undergone an £18 million renovation project and rebrand.
Wright & Wright Architects Ltd. is the firm behind the renovation of the original Grade 1 listed Geffrye Almshouses. The project also includes the development of new areas such as a street-facing café, new educational and gallery spaces and better access.
When it does open its doors, visitors will enjoy an 80% increase in exhibition space as well as an innovative 21st-century green roof which is part of the museum’s Gardens Through Time project.
“I can’t wait to welcome visitors, old and new, to explore the Museum of the Home and to celebrate this new chapter in the Museum’s history,” says Sonia Solicari, Director.
4 Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, Bath
A fresh entry on our list of top new museums, the world’s first attraction dedicated to Mary Shelley and Frankenstein will open in Bath, UK, in spring 2021. This aims to explore the life of Mary Shelley, as well as the events and conversations that led to the creation of her famous scientist and his monster.
When it opens to the public, its four floors of displays will immerse visitors in Shelley’s life, through a series of unusual artefacts, interactive multi-sensory environments, and even a body part or two.
“I know Bath is better known for Jane Austen and gentle period dramas,” said co-founder Jonathan Willis, in an interview with Somerset Live. “But Mary Shelley created the great monster while living in this city and I believe she deserves to be commemorated with a fun and scary visitor attraction.”
5 Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Having been first announced in 1992, this is perhaps the longest anticipated entry on our list of new museums to watch in 2021. COVID-19 was just the latest in a long string of delays for the Grand Egyptian Museum, but now it is hoping to open in June 2021.
The museum is approximately two kilometres away from the famous pyramids of Giza and covers an area of 50-hectares, making it the largest archaeological museum in the world. The project cost around $1 billion and will hold around 100,000 objects, including all 5,600 artefacts from King Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Already installed is the world’s first hanging obelisk, which takes centre place in front of the museum’s entrance and contains the cartouche of King Ramses II.
“Egypt’s gift to the world deserves a huge celebration,” says Major General Atef Moftah, on the decision to delay the opening.
6 National Museum of African American Music, Nashville
The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville is set to officially open its doors in January 2021. Like many other new museums around the world, the grand opening was delayed as a result of the pandemic.
This new museum for 2021 is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the varied music genres created, influenced, and inspired by African Americans. Visitors to the NMAAM in downtown Nashville will be able to discover the story of the American soundtrack through a variety of interesting displays and interactive technologies.
The 56,000 square-foot museum’s exhibits include instruments and clothes owned by iconic musicians, from Nat King Cole to Whitney Houston.
7 Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Odense
This new museum dedicated to beloved writer Hans Christian Andersen will open to the public in the summer of 2021. The museum will celebrate the author of well-known tales such as The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.
Located in Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace, Odense, Denmark, it will cover an area of 5,600 square metres and will also house Tinderbox, a children’s centre themed around Andersen’s stories.
While there is already a Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense, this new project will focus more on the author’s literary work and less on his personal life. It will be located in a brand new building, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.
The works of this author are popular with audiences around the world. For instance, Sharjah Art Museum in the UAE recently held a Hans Christian Andersen exhibition called Fairytales Come True.
8 Museum of Making, Derby
Located in the centre of Derby in the UK, on the site of the city’s original silk mill, the £18 million new Museum of Making in Derby will open in spring 2021. It aims to inspire future generations of makers, creators and innovators. Bauman Lyon Architects designed the new building.
The museum will explore the 300-year history of making in the Derwent Valley Mills, the world’s first factory and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Unusually, the Museum of Making will have its complete collection on display, consisting of50,000 objects. These range from objects from the Palaeolithic past of the area and items from Derby’s industrial history to modern-day exhibits.
“Most museums have the majority of their collections in store. But this museum will have pretty much everything accessible to the public,” says Hannah Fox, director of projects and programmes at the Museum of Making. “They range from a huge engine donated by Rolls-Royce to a fantastic little engine run by a single human hair that was showcased at the Chicago World’s Fair in the 1930s.”
9 Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester
A major renovation project at the Manchester Jewish Museum is due to be unveiled later this year. When it re-opens in spring 2021, the museum will have double the original space and will be home to a new gallery, studio, kitchen, shop and café.
The museum holds over 31,000 objects and personal histories, which help to tell the story of Jewish Manchester as well as wider stories of migration, community and identity. The make-over will also see the launch of a new programme, marking the museum’s mission to use Jewish stories to connect to the world.
Manchester Jewish Museum is located inside a former synagogue, built in 1873. During the renovation, builders discovered a sealed time capsule in the walls, filled with synagogue papers, newspapers and some old coins. Records show it was laid in the cornerstone of the building in around 1873.
10 Pudong Museum of Art, Shanghai
One of several new museums in China set to open in 2021, the Pudong Museum of Art will be will mainly focus on the presentation and exchange of international arts, supplemented by domestic art exhibitions.
The Jean Nouvel-designed building is located next to Shanghai’s landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower and is expected to open mid-2021 with an exhibition from the Tate collection. In 2019, Tate announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with developer Shanghai Lujiazui Group.
Tate will provide the new museum with training and expertise, as well as the opening exhibition drawn from Tate’s collection, followed by two more exhibitions, bringing works from Tate’s national collection to Chinese audiences.
11 The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles
This is another entry from last year’s list of top new museums that has seen its opening date move to 2021 as a result of COVID-19. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the 300,000-square-foot museum will explore the history of the filmmaking business, with exhibition spaces and interactive displays alongside theatres and a rooftop terrace.
Several key pieces from the Academy’s collection of film memorabilia will be on show, such as props from Jaws and an original Cinerama camera.
Speaking of the delay, Bill Kramer, director and president of the museum said: “We are putting the final touches on our stunning exhibitions and public spaces, and while we were ready and eager to welcome visitors in the spring, with the current surge of COVID-19, it would be irresponsible to maintain an April opening.”
The new opening date for the museum, located inside a former department store that dates back to 1939, will be in late September 2021.
12 The Avicii Experience, Stockholm
One for music fans, this new museum dedicated to the late DJ and producer will open later in 2021. Described by its creators as “an intensively emotional tribute museum to one of the true icons of modern popular culture,” it will allow visitors to learn more about the artist Avicii and the person Tim Bergling.
The museum will feature several immersive and interactive displays, following Avicii’s journey to world-famous superstar. The collection includes memorabilia, photos and video, as well as both published and unpublished music.
This new attraction is a part of SPACE, a new concept bringing gaming, music, and content creation together in one location, which is set to open in Stockholm later this year. A portion of the revenue from the Avicii Experience will go to the Tim Bergling Foundation, which advocates for the recognition of suicide as a global health emergency and aims to help remove the stigma attached to the discussion of mental health issues.
13 M+, Hong Kong
M+ in Hong Kong was originally scheduled to open in 2017 but has been plagued by delays. Now, this new visual culture museum is said to be opening in late 2021.
M+ is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, the building covers 65,000 square metres and is designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
When open, it will feature 17,000 square metres of exhibition galleries as well as three cinemas and a learning hub. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a roof garden with views of the Hong Kong skyline.
14 Frick Madison, New York
In 2021, the Frick Collection will move to a new location on Madison Avenue, New York, in a venue that used to hold the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Met Breuer. This 1966 Brutalist building is quite a different setting to its previous home, a Gilded Age mansion on East 70th Street
However, the Frick Madison will only be a temporary home for the collection, while the historic East 70th Street building is being renovated.
Ian Wardropper, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director, says “We are thrilled that the public will be able to continue to enjoy these great works of art during the renovation and enhancement of our permanent home at 1 East 70th Street, a time when they otherwise would be inaccessible.
“Audiences will be able to experience the collection reframed in an exciting new way. The minimalism of Marcel Breuer’s mid-century architecture will provide a unique backdrop for our Old Masters, and the result will be a not-to-be-missed experience, one that our public is sure to find engaging and thought-provoking.”
15 GES-2, Moscow
The GES-2 is a huge new art centre for Moscow that is set to open in 2021. This is another project that has experienced delays due to the impacts of coronavirus.
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It is housed in a former power plant which dates back to 1904 and has been designed by Renzo Piano. The GES-2 will also include a library, an education centre and an amphitheatre, as well as spaces for artists in residence.
Visitors to the 20,000-square-metre museum will be able to discover works by Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool, amongst others. It is expected to open in summer or autumn with an exhibition by Ragnar Kjartansson.
The V-A-C Foundation, an international non-profit organisation founded by billionaire Leonid Nikhelson, is responsible for the project.
Images kind courtesy of those institutions mentioned. Top image, MUNCH in Oslo