New museums

There are some seriously exciting museums taking shape across the globe. Magali Robathan takes a look at the seven of the best

Museum of Modern Art
Warsaw, Poland
Thomas Phifer / Photo: Jason Schmidt

The new headquarters of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (MSN Warsaw) is currently under construction at the foot of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, and is set to open in 2024.

Designed by the New York City-based architecture studio Thomas Phifer and Partners, the new building covers an area of almost 20,000sq m, with more than 4,500sq m of exhibition space. The building will also feature educational rooms, a conservation workshop, art warehouses and a cinema with a screening room for 150 people, as well as an open auditorium, a reading room, a bistro and a bookshop.

The new premises are part of a two-building complex: the museum and TR Theatre, which will complete the space of Warsaw's future Central Square (now called Plac Defilad).

The new building will also house a recording studio – a reconstruction of the historic Polish Radio Experimental Studio (SEPR) designed in the 1960s by architect Oskar Hansen – available to artists working on musical projects.

The new building is being funded by the City of Warsaw / Photo: Beauty and the Bit
Light and shade will create mood / Photo: Marta EjsmonT
Grand Egyptian Museum
Cairo, Egypt
Photo: hparc Joanne Murphy

This one was on our list last year, but it looks as though 2023 will be the year this long-awaited project finally opens its doors. When the Grand Egyptian Museum fully opens, it will be the largest archaeological museum complex in the world, housing more than 100,000 artefacts, including King Tutankhamun's entire treasure collection comprising 5,000 items, as well as items dating from pre-historic times through to the Greek and Roman periods of Egyptian history.

The Egyptian government first announced the launch of a project to establish the GEM back in 1992, but it took until 2002 for the architectural competition to be announced, with Irish architects Heneghan Peng chosen that year. The huge sprawling building rises from the desert like a giant ship, with the exterior covered in pyramid motifs.

With 484,000sq ft of floor space, 12 exhibition halls, 100,000 artefacts, with a reported total cost of $1bn, this will be a monumental museum – hopefully worth the wait.

The museum will house King Tut's treasure collection / Photo: shuterstock/mountainpix
The Grand Egyptian Museum is located just outside Cairo / Photo: Ministry of Antiquities
Museum of Art & Photography
Bangalore, India
Kamini Sawhney / Photo: Orange & Teal, courtesy Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bangalore

Developed to act as a beacon for South Asian arts and culture worldwide, the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) in Bangalore is the first new public museum to open in India in a decade.

MAP’s growing collection of more than 60,000 works ranges widely across all periods and includes paintings, sculptures and graphics, exhibited alongside textiles, tribal art and memorabilia of India’s Bollywood industry. According to the museum founders, it 'deliberately blurs the boundaries between what is regarded as high art and the everyday creativity of the region’s communities.' The photography collection is one of the most extensive in India with a particular focus on the period from the mid-nineteenth century.

The 44,000sq ft building housing the museum is located in the heart of Bangalore’s museum quarter and was designed by Bangalore-based architects, Mathew & Ghosh. It includes four large galleries, a café and a restaurant, an auditorium, library, and a conservation laboratory.

The inaugural exhibition will provide a glimpse of the story the collections show. Titled Visible/Invisible, it includes a retrospective of photographs by printmaker and painter Jyoti Bhatti and the first solo show by visual artist LN Tallur, while the museum's sculpture garden will host an installation by Stephen Cox alongside commissions by Arik Levy, Ayesha Singh and Tarik Currimbhoy.

Kamini Sawhney, Director of MAP, said: “We want MAP Museum of Art & Photography to be accessible to everyone, and to speak especially to a young generation whose visual experiences are so greatly influenced by the digital world. More than half of our population are under 25 years old; no country has more young people. We're fortunate to have been able to start from scratch thinking in an integrated way about how to approach audiences we couldn’t have dreamt of reaching through the building alone.”

Tarik Currimbhoy, The Cobra 1/1, 2022, Stainless steel / Photo: MAP Museum of Art & Photography, Bangalore
Jyoti Bhatt, Children with mehndi on their hands (Rajasthan) / Photo: MAP Museum of Art & Photography, Bangalore
Portrait of a Woman, Rajasthan, late-19th century / Photo: MAP Museum of Art & Photography, Bangalore
Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation
New York, US
Jeanne Gang / Photo: Saverio Truglia

Designed by Studio Gang, the dramatic new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation is set to open in the winter of 2023.

The 230,000sq ft addition to the American Museum of Natural History – which connects physically to the main museum building – will include three floors of exhibits inviting 'exploration of the fascinating, far-reaching relationships among species that comprise life on Earth.'

Highlights include a 3,000sq ft butterfly vivarium showcasing 80 species of live butterflies, a 5,000sq ft insectarium and a vertical collections facility featuring floor-to-ceiling exhibits representing every area of the museum’s collections in vertebrate and invertebrate biology, paleontology, geology, anthropology, and archaeology.

It also features Invisible Worlds, a 360-degree immersive science-and-art experience, new classrooms and a four-storey civic space that also acts as a new gateway into the museum.

The Kenneth C. Griffin Exploration Atrium, a soaring, four-story civic space / Photo: Neoscape, Inc./© AMNH
Test patterns projected by technicians working on Invisible Worlds / Photo: Timothy Schenck/© AMNH
The building has been designed by Studio Gang architects / Photo: Neoscape, Inc./© AMNH
Factory International
Manchester, UK

Named after Manchester's famous record label Factory Records, major new arts and cultural centre Factory International is set to open in June 2023.

The centre will be housed in a 13,350sq m building designed by architects OMA, which will include a 21m-high warehouse with capacity for up to 5,000 people. The building has been designed to be highly flexible so it can accommodate varied set-ups, from small theatre shows and exhibitions, to huge multimedia performances and warehouse-scale gigs. It will host a year-round programme of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, performance, installation and digital commissions

Its public spaces will host activities such as family-friendly workshops, pop-up food stalls, music, workshops and markets – many of them free for everyone.

The opening production Free Your Mind – a large-scale immersive performance based on The Matrix films – is being directed by Danny Boyle and will feature choreography by Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and stage sets by designer Es Devlin. Factory International will act as the centrepiece of the 2023 Manchester International Festival in July, with a major exhibition of Yayoi Kusama's inflatable sculptures, You, Me and the Balloons, in its main warehouse space.

Yayoi Kusama and Dots Obsession, 1996-2011 Installation view: The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. / Photo: YAYOI KUSAMA, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro and David Zwirner
The opening production is based on The Matrix films / Photo: Jeremy Coysten @northdesign
The 13,350sq m building can be refigured to accommodate a variety of set ups / Photo: OMA
International African American Museum
Charleston, US
Dr Tonya Matthews / Photo: IAAM

Following two decades of planning, the hotly anticipated International African American Museum in Charleston, US, is set to open this summer. Originally due to open in January 2023, the launch has been pushed back due to problems with humidity and temperature controls.

Located on the former site of Gadsden’s Wharf – one of the nation’s most prolific slave trading ports – the International African American Museum aims to give visitors the opportunity to engage with authentic and lesser-known history through transformative storytelling, compelling artefacts and exhibitions, as well as its unique setting. According to its founders, the mission of the museum is to: 'Honour the untold story of the African American journey at one of America’s most sacred sites'.

The museum will feature nine galleries ranging in theme from introducing the African origins and diasporic connections of African Americans to taking 'an unvarnished look at slavery and enslaved people's fight for human dignity.'

“This museum will be a must-see space of courageous curiosity and authentic engagement with our nation’s history – with African American history,” says Dr Tonya Matthews, president and CEO of the International African American Museum.

“Committed reckoning with history is a necessary stop on the road to healing and reconciliation. Charleston is a port city, a global city, a historic city – and there is no better place for our museum to steward these stories that have such national and international significance and impact.”

The museum will use 'transformative storytelling' / Photo: Lucinda MacPherson
Nine galleries will explore African American history / Photo: Ellis Creek Photography
National Portrait Gallery
London, UK
Nicholas Cullinan / Photo: Zöe Law

London's National Portrait Gallery is set to reopen in June 2023, following the most significant redevelopment in its history. Visitors to the museum will see a complete top-to-bottom redisplay of the collection, a new 'more open and accessible entrance and forecourt' and a 'transformational refurbishment' of the Grade I listed building and many of its historic features.

The redevelopment project – designed by Jamie Fobert Architects and titled Inspiring People – will see the gallery's entire collection reorganised and rehung in refurbished galleries and will also see the return of the Gallery’s East Wing to public use as the Weston Wing, restoring original gallery spaces and creating new retail and catering facilities. A new Learning Centre will feature studios, breakout spaces, and high-quality facilities.

The redevelopment will enable the gallery to become "more welcoming and engaging and fulfil our role as the nation's family album,” said Nicolas Cullinan, National Portrait Gallery director. “We eagerly look forward to welcoming visitors back into our transformed Gallery in June.”

Since closure, the National Portrait Gallery has facilitated a number of partnerships with museums, local groups and schools, with the aim of bringing its collection closer to communities across the UK.

The Coming Home project saw more than 30 portraits of well known figures including Virginia Woolf, Stormzy and Jessica Ennis-Hill exhibited in their hometowns. In 2020, the Gallery undertook a community exhibition called Hold Still, resulting in a collective portrait of the UK during the first national lockdown.

The Gallery's entire portrait collection is being rehung / Photo: David Parry
The project aims to make the gallery more accessible / Photo: Jamie Fobert Architects Forbes Massie
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