From the oldest to the most recent, a swag of new museums join the offerings in 2024. Which will you visit as a tack-on to your next trip abroad? There are innovative museums to cater for all interests – from natural history to new technology, from immersive displays to classic collections.
Be on top of the talking points and hottest travel picks.
1. Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza, Egypt
It would seem the wait is over. Designed by Heneghan Peng, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) has been a decade in the making. In October 2022 it was 99% ready (and has been on our list each year since), but the project again stalled. The US$1 billion destination site is being loosely promoted as opening in May this year, but no formal date has been announced.
This is a must on any budding Egyptologist’s list – it will be more than just a museum; it will be an experience. The cultural complex is massive and is defined by a 600-metre tall translucent stone façade and colossal statue of Ramses II standing in the atrium entry. Oh, and it’s said that around 100,000 artefacts will be on display. It is currently running a trial visits program.
2. Nintendo Museum, Kyoto, Japan
The giant gaming brand Nintendo is as synonymous with Japan as sushi and bullet trains. That connection will be explored in a new museum in the company’s former gaming factory in Uji City, built in 1969. The interactive museums will showcase the company’s 135-year history, from Japanese-style hanafuda playing cards through to household names like Pokémon and Super Mario. Visitors will be able to walk into immersive exhibitions themed to games, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda. Understandably, it will all be very hands-on. Building works are expected to be completed in March 2024, with the opening date still to be announced. The museum unveiled its logo on the site in October last year.
3. Museum of Shakespeare, London, UK
Just when we thought we’d discovered everything, archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) discovered the remains of one of London’s earliest theatres during an excavation in Shoreditch, in 2011. It is believed to be the remains of the original Curtain Playhouse, Shakespeare’s favoured venue (before his company moved to The Globe).
Bompas and Parr have designed a glass prism-like structure and viewing platform with projections to give visitors a sense of being on the stage in the 16th century. The design takes visitors around three metres underground and use multisensory technology to recreate the sights, sounds and even smells of 1598 London. The Museum of Shakespeare is expected to open later this year, and is part of a larger development called The Stage, which blends mixed-use retail, living and entertainment facilities.
3. Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, New York City, US
Stonewall is synonymous with the Gay activism movement – it has even been the subject of movies (including Stonewall, 1995 and a different film with the same title in 2015). The June 1969 police raid of Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn – a prominent gay bar – was a turning point in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights. President Barack Obama officially designated the site as a national monument in 2016. Now, the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will continue to share this history, with a dedicated space to open next door on 28 June this year. Pride Live is the non-profit social organisation overseeing the space and curating projects in partnership with the Parsons School of Design.
4. Seoul Robot and AI Museum, Seoul, Korea
In 2019, Melike Altinisik Architects won an international competition to design the Seoul Robot and AI Museum with an orb-shaped building. The firm explains the museum is ‘not only going to exhibit robots but actually [include exhibits] from design, manufacturing to construction and services; smart technologies will be in charge. In other words, RAIM will start its “first exhibition” with smart design and smart building methodologies’.
RAIM is located in the recently renovated area, the Changbai New Economic Center – a cultural precinct for Chang-dong in the northern part of Seoul. Next door, the Photographic Art Museum (PAM) will also be built. RAIM is due to open during Seoul’s autumn this year.
5. Museum of Art and Technology, New York City, US
A new Museum of Art and Technology (MOAT) will open this month (February) in the bustling centre of New York’s Financial District. Interactive artist Roy Nachum and real estate developer Michael Cayre are behind the museum, which will offer 15 immersive experiences within a retail concept hub.
6. Universal Wine Museum, Beijing, China
Located south-west of Beijing in the Fangshan District, the International Wine Village project – the Universal Wine Museum – is the first wine-themed leisure/work/training complex in China. Commissioned in 2019, the project was due to open in late 2023, but has been pushed into 2024. It has been designed by Shanghai-based Architecturestudio, with interiors by France’s Ateliers Adeline Rispal. The museum was jointly commissioned by the Foundation for Wine Culture and Civilisations (Bordeaux) and the Zhong Pu Hui Group (Beijing). An opening date is yet to be published.
7. Freedom Monument Sculpture Park, Alabama, US
Covering seven hectares (17 acres), the Freedom Monument Sculpture Park will tell the story of enslaved Black Americans through a series of 48 large-scale sculptures created by 27 artists – half of which are site-responsive. It has been curated to offer an immersive journey that allows visitors to honour to the lives of the 10 million Black people once enslaved across the US. The Park is located in Montgomery, Alabama and is scheduled to open ‘soon’. A ticket also allows you to visit two further legacy museums.
8. Perth Museum, Scotland, UK
Scotland gets a new museum in 2024, with the opening of the Perth Museum in April. At a cost of £27 million (AU$52 million), Dutch architecture practice Mecanoo has converted the former city hall to tell the story of Perth as Scotland’s first capital. Mecanoo is no stranger to gallery projects in the UK. The staff have the keys, and are currently preparing exhibitions ahead of opening.
9. Studio Museum Harlem, New York, US
While the Studio Museum in Harlem has experienced construction delays, it is expected to open its doors this year. It is the first building in the museum’s history that has been created expressly for the needs of the institution and its communities. The new building, designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson, has been undertaken as a public/private initiative in partnership with the City of New York. The 7600-square-metre glass-fronted building will offer an increase of 70% space for programming.
Next, ArtsHub will take a look at the new art museums to also open their doors in 2024.