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Museums

Ones to watch

This year is set to be an exciting one for museums, with new institutions dedicated to robots, African art and film, ancient Egypt and the musicals of Broadway. Magali Robathan checks out a few


After delays and frustrations caused by the pandemic over the past couple of years, 2022 is shaping up to be a great year for museum openings. If all goes to plan (and we’ve certainly learned there’s no guarantee of that) the world should see long-awaited facilities such as the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza finally open, as well as more recent but just as exciting projects.

Enjoy Attractions Management’s snapshot of some of the fantastic museums set to open in 2022.

National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design
Oslo, Norway
Karin Hindsbo

Norway’s National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design is set to open in June 2022 in an enormous new building on Oslo’s waterfront.

The state-owned National Museum holds Norway’s largest collection of art, design and architecture and the new building designed by Kleihues + Schuwerk features 13,000sq m of exhibition space – almost twice as much space as the museum’s former building.

The museum’s collection holds around 400,000 objects, ranging from medieval tapestries to contemporary artworks, with notable pieces including Edvard Munch’s The Scream, a collection of works by Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn and a rare Baldishol tapestry almost 1,000 years old. Other artists on display will include Harald Sohlberg, Harriet Backer, Theodor Kittelsen, Gustav Vigeland, Hannah Ryggen, Lucas Cranach, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Ida Ekblad.

The Light Hall is the museum’s architectural showpiece – a spectacular 2,400sq m rooftop space with marble glass walls featuring 9,000 adjustable LED lights that will make the building ‘glow’. This space will host special exhibitions and events, with the opening exhibition “a declaration of love to Norwegian contemporary art.” The Light Hall will be filled with an extensive survey of new Norwegian contemporary art featuring almost 150 artists and artist groups of all ages and covering all the museum’s fields.

A large open-air roof terrace will offer dramatic views of Oslo, and the museum will also feature cafés, a shop, and the ‘largest art library in the Nordic region.’

Karin Hindsbo was appointed director of the National Museum in 2017.

The new building has been designed by Kleihues + Schuwerk / photo: Iwan Baan
The Institute of Contemporary African Art & Film
Ilorin, Nigeria
Studio Contra’s Olayinka Dosekun-Adjei and Jeffrey Adjei / Studio Contra

A gallery purpose-built with the aim of attracting the best in contemporary African art from around the continent, the Institute of Contemporary African Art & Film in Ilorin, Nigeria, will open towards the end of 2022.

Billed as Nigeria’s first major visual arts museum, it will feature galleries for a range of exhibitions, post-production studios for cinema and video art, a film screening room, a café, gift shop, co-working space and public landscaped gardens.

The museum has been designed by Lagos-based architectural practice Studio Contra. “Resisting the notion of art gallery as an elite cultural object, we have sought to integrate the building into the life of the city and invite people in, so as to create a locally-relevant and viable institution,” said Olayinka Dosekun-Adjei, creative director at Studio Contra.

“The exhibition spaces of the Visual Arts Centre will offer visitors a seamlessly integrated experience of art, architecture and landscape, and the spaces will be designed to ensure that guests can have an unhurried, intimate engagement with both the artworks and the environment during their visit.”

The museum is billed as Nigeria’s “first major visual arts institution” / Studio Contra
Studio Contra
Studio Contra
Studio Contra
Hong Kong Palace Museum
Hong Kong
HKPM director Dr Louis Ng / Hong Kong Palace Museum

Five years in the making, the Hong Kong Palace Museum (HKPM) is due to open in July 2022. The museum is the result of a collaboration between the Palace Museum in Beijing and Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. More than 900 works of art will be displayed – on loan from the Palace Museum – signifying a strategic partnership between the two museums.

The HK$3.5bn seven-storey museum was designed by architect Rocco Yim and sits on the Victoria Harbour waterfront. It will feature 7,800sq m of exhibition space spread across nine galleries, and has three stacked glass atriums at its core, offering views of the waterfront.

“The idea of a ‘connected museum’ captures the distinct identity and role of the HKPM in advocating for a new paradigm for the interpretation of Chinese art and culture,” said Dr Louis Ng, director at the Hong Kong Palace Museum. “In this context, the concept of connection has multiple meanings – to connect the past to the present, increase hyperconnectivity, strengthen connections with museums and audiences in mainland China, and  connect Chinese culture with a much wider global audience.”

The museum team plans to build international partnerships and collaborations and as a result, one of the opening exhibitions – dedicated to the art of the horse – has been curated in collaboration with the Musee du Louvre in Paris.

The seven storey museum was designed by architect Rocco Yim / Hong Kong Palace Museum
HKPM offered a preview of the museum at Fine Arts Asia 2021 / Hong Kong Palace Museum
Seoul Robot and AI Museum
Seoul, South Korea
Melike Altınışık / ©NAARO

Billed as the world’s first robot science museum, Seoul’s Robot and AI museum is being built by the robots it aims to showcase.

When it launches in 2023 the museum itself will act as its own opening exhibit, showing what robots can achieve.

“They’re in charge, from design, manufacturing and construction to services and smart technologies,” says architect Melike Altınışık.

“The new Robot & AI Museum (RAIM) which plays a catalytic role in advancing and promoting science, technology, and innovation throughout society, is going to be an experience space which can allow people to interact with robotic technologies,” said Altınışık.

RAIM is at the heart of the Changbai New Economic Center – a new cultural district that’s part of the city government’s plans to revitalise the Chang-dong area of northern Seoul. The museum aims to support public education in robotics and raise awareness of AI initiatives via a range of exhibitions.

The museum building, which was built by robots, will act as its own opening exhibit / MELIKE ALTINISIK ARCHITECTS
Museum visitors will experience the latest robotics technology / MELIKE ALTINISIK ARCHITECTS
Sydney Modern
Sydney, Australia

The Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Sydney Modern Project will see the opening of a brand new building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects SANAA.

Due for completion at the end of 2022, the project will see the flagship public cultural institution transformed into a two-building art museum that will almost double the Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition space. The original historic building is also being revitalised – by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects, who are restoring the original architectural features and providing more space for art and scholarship. A new public art garden is being added, with Kathryn Gustafson of Seattle firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Australian landscape architects McGregor Coxall working together on the landscaping.

The aim of the project, according to the Art Gallery of NSW, is to “bring together art, architecture and landscape in spectacular new ways, with dynamic galleries, site-specific works by leading Australian and international artists, and extensive outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy.”

Set in parkland overlooking Sydney Harbour, the glass-fronted Sydney Modern building will consist of interlocking rectangular pavilions and will connect to the existing sandstone gallery via the new public art garden.

The new gallery will feature a pair of reconfigured, decommissioned underground Second World War oil tanks for special exhibitions and performances. A full rehang of the collection will give works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists pride of place in a dedicated space near the entrance and throughout the gallery displays.

Environmental sustainability is key to the design, which features green roofs, solar panels and rainwater harvesting.

Sydney Modern is backed by A$244m from the New South Wales state government and more than A$100m in philanthropic support.

The new building will almost double the art gallery’s space / Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2018
The oil tank gallery at the Sydney Modern / Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA © Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2018
The Grand Egyptian Museum
Giza, Egypt

The long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum is set to open in late 2022. Home to more than 100,000 artefacts representing 3,500 years of ancient Egyptian history, the 500,000sq m facility will be the world’s largest archaeological museum.

Highlights will include King Tutankhamun’s entire treasure collection, which will be displayed in its own dedicated exhibition space.

The idea for the museum was first mooted in 2002, when the Egyptian government announced a worldwide competition to design a new museum dedicated to Egypt’s history. Irish architectural firm Heneghan Peng Architects secured the contract to design the museum, and construction began in 2005, but it was delayed by the 2011 revolution in Egypt and then by the pandemic.

In January 2022, it was announced that the project was 99 per cent complete; the museum is expected to open towards the end of the year.

The design of the museum was informed by the surroundings, according to the architects: “The site for the Grand Egyptian Museum is located at the edge of the first desert plateau between the pyramids and Cairo. It is defined by a 50m level difference, created as the Nile carves its way through the desert to the Mediterranean – a geological process that has shaped Egypt for over 3,000 years.

“The design of the museum utilises the level difference to construct a new ‘edge’ to the plateau, a surface defined by a veil of translucent stone that transforms from day to night.”

Waleed Abdel-Fattah, North African senior vice president of Hill International, spoke to Attractions Management about the project. Hill International is providing project and construction management services in a joint venture with EHAF Consulting.

“The Grand Egyptian Museum is one of the greatest cultural projects happening in the world today,” said Abdel-Fattah. “The designers have created the building on a north-south axis, matching the old temples. We started construction in 2012. Over time, technology developed and evolved. Our vision was to use only state-of-the-art technology, so we had to adjust to incorporate some of the latest technology as we developed the exhibition. This also meant sometimes we had to re-open the ceilings and walls to accommodate some of the technologies.”

Róisín Heneghan and Shih-Fu Peng / hparc Joanne Murphy
The form is inspired by the pyramids / Hill International
Ad Gefrin Visitor Centre
Wooler, Northumberland, UK

When it opens in autumn 2022, the Ad Gefrin Visitor Centre will tell the story of the 7th century Anglo-Saxon Royal Court of Northumbria, discovered four miles away in the mid 1950s in what was hailed as one of the most remarkable archaeological finds of the twentieth century.

Ad Gefrin aims to recreate the atmosphere of the Royal Summer Palace of the Northumbrian kings and queens at a time when the Great Hall of the Royal Court was a destination for international trade and cultural exchange with connections to people from across Europe and as far away as North Africa. 

Standing in front of the hearth in the recreated Great Hall, visitors will be swept up in the rich stories of the time, through immersive AV technology that aims to bring this period of history alive through spoken word, art, music and dance.

A series of projected films will tell the stories of the people that lived and worked in the Royal Court; the museum will also display archaeologically-important artefacts found at the original site, and borrowed from international museums and collections.

The centre will house a whisky distillery – with guided tours and tastings planned – as well as a bistro bar and gift shop.

The project is the brainchild of the Ferguson family, who own the Northumberland site.

“This project is very close to my heart and something that the whole Ferguson family feels passionate about,” said Eileen Ferguson, co-founder of Ad Gefrin.

“Our collective ambition is to put something wonderful back into an area that has given us so much. In embracing all that the Golden Age stood for in terms of connectedness, cultural exchange and innovation, we hope that Ad Gefrin brings people together and instils a sense of belonging and hope.”

The museum will tell the story of an Anglo Saxon Royal Court / Ad Gefrin Experience, Sally Ann Norman
The centre aims to reawaken the Northumbrian whisky distilling tradition / photo: Sally Ann Norman
Museum of Broadway
New York, US

Slated to open in Times Square in the summer of 2022, the Museum of Broadway will celebrate the history, artistry, and legacy of  Broadway musicals, plays, and theatres.  

This interactive, multi-floor museum, founded by entrepreneur and producer Julie Boardman, and Diane Nicoletti, founder of experiential agency Rubik Marketing, will offer guests a mix of immersive installations and traditional displays representing a “unique look at the rich history of  Broadway, a sneak peek behind-the-scenes, and a chance to personally engage with the ‘game changing’ shows that redefined Broadway.”  

Guests will travel through a visual history of Broadway from its birth to the present day, highlighting theatre’s pioneers, landmark moments of social change, and many of the most beloved plays and musicals of all time. Along the timeline, pivotal Broadway shows such as Rent and Hair will be celebrated through a range of immersive installations. A special exhibit will also allow visitors to ‘go backstage’ to get a taste of what’s involved in the making of a Broadway show, from set design to lighting and script-writing. In the museum’s Map Room, guests will experience the history and migration of New York City’s theatres through immersive video projections.

“In the theatre we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. We’re thrilled to create a museum honouring Broadway’s extraordinary history, the trailblazers who pushed the art form  forward and celebrate its bright future,” said Julie Boardman. “We’re delighted to be working  closely with members of the theatre community to build an authentic experience that visitors of  all ages will enjoy.”  

“It’s thrilling to have a permanent museum dedicated exclusively to Broadway theatre open in the heart of the theatre district,” said Doug Reside, curator of the Billy Rose Theatre Division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

“Theatre is an art form that regularly remembers its own past through revivals and reinterpretations, and this museum will help to contextualise the story of this repertory both for first time visitors to Broadway and for seasoned ticket buyers,” he added.  

The Museum of Broadway is set to open this summer / Paul Bennett Architects
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