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Architect rendering of the exterior loading dock, the Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas

Top 19 new museums to look forward to in 2020

There are several highly-anticipated museums set to open this year, either for the first time or after extensive refurbishment projects. We take a look at the top new museums for 2020.

Whether you like modern art, literature, social commentary or even underwater sculptures, there is a whole host of museums due to open over the next 12 months guaranteed to catch your interest. Here’s a look ahead at the top new museums coming soon.

Top new museums opening in 2020

1. The Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt

First on our list of the top new museums is a long-awaited project in Cairo. This was first announced in 1992. After several delays, it will open in the final quarter of 2020.

Egypt’s newest museum will be home to the full Tutankhamun collection. The high-tech museum will also hold many other artefacts from Ancient Egypt and will be the largest archaeological museum in the world.

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) sits on a 50-hectare site outside the city, around two kilometres away from the iconic Giza pyramids. The triangular-shaped building is the work of Irish architects Heneghan Peng, and the project cost around $1 billion.

2. The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the world. This year, it will unveil the next key stage in its redevelopment. This is part of a massive expansion designed by the award-winning architect Frank Gehry.

Vaulted walkway at Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo by Joseph Hu, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art

This project was announced in October 2006. The goal is to expand the museum’s display space by 60%, without altering any of the building’s much-loved Greek revival façade.  A new 7,400 square metre (80,000 square foot) gallery is being constructed completely underground.

“Plans to renovate the building are in full swing,” says the Museum. “Inspired by the integrity of our historic building, Gehry’s plan opens up the museum’s interior with more public spaces, more room for art, and easier navigation.”

3. Harriet Tubman Museum, Cape May, New Jersey, USA

Harriet Tubman, the American abolitionist and political activist, will be honoured with a new museum this year, located in New Jersey. It will hold a unique collection of Underground Railroad items and African American art.

Tubman was a key figure in the Underground Railroad. Born into slavery, she escaped in 1849 but returned to the South many times to rescue others. She worked in hotels and as a cook in Cape May, and used the money that she earned there to fund these missions.

Future location of the Harriet Tubman Museum, Cape MAy

The Harriet Tubman Museum will be located in a renovated pre-Victorian house in Cape May, previously known as The Howell House. The project is funded in part by the local community, which has raised over $150,000.

4. Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, Austria

The Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna has undergone an expansion project and is due to reopen in May 2020. The museum explores the life of the famous neurologist and father of psychoanalysis, as well as the history of the discipline.

The building itself dates back to 1891 and was Freud’s home for 47 years. The renovation project will both preserve the building and improve the way the collections are presented to the public.

reconstruction of Freud's waiting room at the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna
Photographer: Florian Lierzer, courtesy of the Sigmund Freud Foundation

The collection includes original items that Freud owned, as well as a reconstruction of the practice’s waiting room and his considerable antique collection. The museum is also attached to Europe’s largest psychoanalytic research library, home to 35,000 volumes.

5. The Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas, USA

Next on our list of top new museums is this contemporary art satellite space in Bentonville, affiliated with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Located in an old Kraft Foods factory, the Momentary will officially open on 22 February 2020.

Exterior South Courtyard with projection the momentary bentonville, one of the top new museums coming in 2020
Exterior south courtyard with full projection, image courtesy of the Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas

The museum will be a performance venue as well as a space for contemporary art. The first exhibition is a survey of emerging artists called State of the Art II. This follows on from 2014’s State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now in 2014 at Crystal Bridges.

The 5,800 square metre (62,000 square foot) site will be an outpost of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2011 by Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton. Walmart recently announced a $2 million gift to the Momentary, enabling free general admission for visitors to the museum when it first opens.

6. Museum of the Home, London, UK

Formerly known at the Geffrye Museum of the Home, this museum will reopen this summer after a large renovation project, under the new name of the Museum of the Home. There will be an 80% increase in exhibition space, therefore improving the visitor experience.

illustration of the redesigned Museum of the Home
Illustration of the new entrance opposite Hoxton Overground Station. Visual by Secchi Smith, design by Wright & Wright Architects

The project, costing over £18 million, has seen Wright & Wright Architects Ltd. renovate the original Grade 1 listed Geffrye Almshouses, as well as developing some new spaces. This includes a street-facing café that is also open outside of the museum’s opening hours.

New features include a 21st-century green roof as part of the Gardens Through Time project. There is also new educational spaces, better access and the new Home Galleries collection.

7. Munchmuseet, Oslo, Norway

Another of the top new museums eagerly awaited for this year is this institution dedicated to the Norweigan painter Edvard Munch, most famous for The Scream. A collection of 1,150 paintings, as well as over 18,000 prints by the artist, are due to move from their current overcrowded location to a massive new building.

The Munchmuseet (Munch Museum) will open this autumn. It includes 11 exhibition halls spread over 26,000 square metres (280,000 square feet) and 13 storeys. The architect behind the new building is Spanish firm Estudio Herreros.

It will be one of the biggest museums dedicated to one single artist. However, it will also feature exhibitions exploring how his work interacts with and has influenced others too. For example, the opening exhibition looks at Tracey Emin.

8. Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art, Kyoto, Japan

Previously known as the Kyoto City Museum of Art, this institution reopens in March 2020, after a three-year refurbishment project. It is one of the oldest public art galleries in Japan.

The redevelopment of the much-loved museum is by architects Jun Aoki and Tezzo Nishizawa. Aoki is also an artist and, in addition to his involvement with the refurbishment, he has been appointed as the new Director of the museum.

The Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art features high-tech exhibition spaces for both contemporary and older works. It will also offer a café, a shop, and a Japanese garden, alongside event spaces.

9. Bourse de Commerce—Pinault Collection, Paris, France

This is a new home for the collection of French billionaire François Pinault, in a former stock exchange close to the Louvre. The building has been designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Ando is also the mastermind behind Pinault’s two Venetian galleries, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana.


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This new museum will display items that Pinault has collected over the past 40 years, exhibited across seven galleries. Guests can also view the 19th-century internal façade from a specially designed walkway.

The museum will run educational programmes, special events and live performances. This is in addition to thematic displays and newly commissioned works.

10. Museum of Underwater Art, Queensland, Australia

Next on our list of top new museums for 2020 is an unusual one. It comes from the mind of underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, who opened the world’s first underwater sculpture park in 2006.

It features some art installations that are entirely under the ocean, alongside others which are half underwater. The goal of the project is to explore the issue of climate change and its impact on the Great Barrier Reef. It will also fund conservation and reef recovery projects.

Found off the coast of Townsville in North-East Australia, the museum will feature four exhibits. These include a 16-foot tall sculpture of an indigenous girl which changes colour according to the increase in surrounding water temperatures.

11. GES-2, Moscow, Russia

The GES-2 is a huge new art centre opening in a former power plant in Moscow later this year. The building itself dates back to 1904. Italian architect Renzo Piano is behind the design.

The V-A-C Foundation, an international non-profit organisation founded by billionaire Leonid Nikhelson, is responsible for the project. It will also be home to a library, an education centre and an amphitheatre, as well as spaces for artists in residence.


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Among the pieces displayed in the 20,000 square metre (215,000 square foot) space will be works by Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool. It will open in September 2020 with an exhibition by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson.

12. U.S Olympic & Paralympic Museum, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

In spring 2020, a new high-tech museum will open its doors in Colorado Springs. Here, visitors will be able to explore the stories of some of America’s most famous athletes.

The U.S Olympic and Paralympic Museum aims to inspire visitors. It will host personal stories, interactive displays and artefacts. These include medals and torches, as well as the final scoreboard from the historic 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’. Guests can also take part in activities such as sports training simulations.

Rendering of the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum

The building is designed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro of New York in collaboration with Anderson Mason Dale Architects from Denver.

13. Humboldt Forum, Berlin, Germany

After some delays, this large museum complex will open in phases from September 2020 onwards. It is located in a reconstructed royal palace in Berlin. The 18th-century building has been carefully reinvented by Italian architect Franco Stella, in order to combine the past and the present.

Humboldt Forum under construction
Image courtesy of SHF / Stephan Falk

The Humboldt Forum will house permanent displays on the history of the city, alongside collections of non-European ethnological and Asian art. It will also include spaces for shows, events and lectures, as well as a research lab run by Humboldt University.

As well as enjoying the unique fusion of Baroque and contemporary architecture, visitors can also spend time in the museum’s cafes, restaurants and a rooftop terrace with views over towards the Brandenburg Gate.

14. The Planet Word Museum, Washington D.C., USA

Next on our list of top new museums for this year is one for fans of the written and spoken word. The Planet Word Museum is set to open in May 2020 and is located inside the Franklin School. This is a fitting location since it is where Alexander Graham Bell first transmitted speech by a beam of light.

This museum will celebrate words in all their forms. From the traditions of oral storytelling and the written word to song-writing and sign language. Words from all around the world will be on the show, thanks to digital ambassadors speaking a range of languages such as Navajo and Zulu.

Visitors can enjoy interactive exhibitions and high-tech displays. The museum will also host special events and workshops.

15. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, California, USA

The second museum on this list of top new museums by Renzo Piano, LA’s latest attraction will chart the history of filmmaking, both in Hollywood and further afield. Set over 300,000 square feet, it will include exhibition spaces, theatres, interactive displays and a rooftop terrace.

When it opens later in 2020, in a former department store, this museum will explore the art, science, history and culture of the movie business.

Displays will draw on the Academy’s large collection of memorabilia. For example, the lone-surviving shark head mould from Jaws, and an original Cinerama camera. The venue will also host Q&A nights with filmmakers.

16. The New Museum for WA, Perth, Australia

Coming to Perth in November 2020 is a new $293 million museum. It aims to follow a ‘people-first approach’, telling the story of Western Australia through its people’s own stories and voices.


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Hassell+OMA designed the New Museum for WA. It features eight new galleries, alongside multipurpose spaces for events and workshops. There will also be a 1000 square metre special exhibitions gallery and food and beverage spaces.

The museum will present artefacts, interactive experiences and multimedia exhibitions that showcase Western Australia’s unique plants, animals, people and history.

17. The Museum of the Future, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The next entry on our list of top new museums will be a centrepiece of Expo 2020 Dubai. The Museum of the Future aims to explore the challenges and technologies shaping the future. It will look at a range of issues from climate change to improving medical procedures.

A giant torus ‘eye’ tops this award-winning stainless steel structure.

Museum of the Future Dubai

The design demonstrates the latest in green technology and eco-friendly architecture. It is solar-powered and also includes charging points for electric cars. The building’s windows, waterproofing and insulation are one complete system.

See also: 24 top country pavilions not to miss at Expo 2020 Dubai

18. Migration Museum, London, UK

This month sees London’s Migration Museum move to a new home in Lewisham Shopping Centre.

The Migration Museum explores the issue of migration, showcasing the stories of people who have moved to and from Britain. It also looks at how the movement of people throughout history has shaped the country and its population.

When it reopens on 14 February, it will run a programme of exhibitions, events and educational workshops.

19. The National Museum of African American Music, Nashville, Tennessee, USA

The final entry on our round-up of the top new museums for 2020 is the National Museum of African American Music. This 56,000 square-foot museum is the first of its kind. It will explore over 50 different music styles inspired by and created by African American musicians.

The museum’s exhibits include instruments and clothes owned by iconic musicians, from Nat King Cole to Whitney Houston. Guests can also visit the 200-seat Roots Theatre as well as a research library.

Set to open in summer 2020, it will feature displays on a variety of genres from classical to jazz, and country to hip hop. The museum will tell the story of black music throughout history.

 With such a large selection of top new museums ready to open their doors in 2020, there is certainly plenty to entertain museum-lovers around the globe.

Top image kind courtesy of the Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas

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charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is blooloop's editor. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

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