Museums have been having a difficult few years as the pandemic has not only affected existing institutions' revenues, but also delayed renovations and the construction of new spaces.
Despite the challenges, a number of museums are pushing ahead with their (re)openings, some, such as the Grand Egyptian Museum, have been decades in the making and are expected to hold grand inauguration ceremonies, while others are part of strategic expansions and renovation projects.
These are the new museum openings to look out for in 2022 around the world.
Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza
Expected to open in November, the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Egypt, will house 100,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts over nearly 500,000 square metres. The project was started 20 years ago by former president Hosni Mubarak, and has faced many delays, not least because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Designed by Heneghan Peng, an architecture firm from Dublin, the project is estimated to have cost $1 billion, funded by loans from the Japanese government.
Among the artefacts to be shown at the Grand Egyptian Museum is Pharaoh Khufu’s “solar barque”, a ritual vessel that would transport the ruler towards the heavens after death. The 45-metre ship, one of the oldest artefacts discovered in Egypt and the world, was moved to the museum in August 2021.
Highlights of the museum include a collection of 5,000 relics from the tomb of Tutankhamun, as well a monumental red granite state of Ramses the Great, which will be showcased in the building’s atrium.
Museum of the Future, Dubai
Dubai’s Museum of the Future, which was listed by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful museums in the world last year, was due to open in 2021 during Expo 2020 Dubai. While the launch has been delayed, the building is almost finished and exhibitions being set up, so it's likely we'll see an opening date announced for this year.
The museum has a broad, aspirational mandate, listing its goals as providing “light in dark times”. Its programming inside the space will include exhibitions, an immersive theatre and various themed attractions and entertainment activities. Most importantly, the museum will explore various topics related to the future – space travel, climate change and ecology and health and wellness, as well as consider the makings of a better world.
Designed by Shaun Killa of Killa Design, the museum features a calligraphic facade created by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej. The script is a quote from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Ruler of Dubai, that states: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.”
The seven-floor structure, which cost Dh500 million to make, has a distinctive look that makes it stand out in the Dubai Financial District. Its silvery exterior comprises 1,024 pieces that were manufactured by robotic arms.
The National Museum, Oslo
The Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo, which opens in June, promises a wide-ranging display of artworks and objects from antiquity to present day.
The museum is made up of three Norwegian institutions, namely the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, combining the collections of all three. More than 5,000 works will be on view as part of the Nasjonalmuseet’s permanent collection, which amounts to some 47,000 pieces.
One of the world’s most recognisable paintings, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, will be on display alongside one of Vincent van Gogh’s self-portraits. The museum will also include a rooftop space for contemporary art exhibitions, a library and a cafe.
Robot Science Museum, Seoul
Seoul may be light years ahead when it comes to building a museum of the future. In 2019, the Robot Science Museum in South Korea’s capital was planned to be built using robotic construction techniques and drones. The museum is designed by Melike Altinisik Architects, which has drawn up a curving facade for the structure, which will be moulded and assembled by robots, with some parts of the concrete landscaping to be 3D-printed.
The museum, which is expected to open in late 2022, is part of the city government’s plan to revitalise the Chang-dong area of Seoul. It will serve to support public education in robots and promote technology and innovation through exhibitions on the design, manufacture and construction of robots and the robotics industry.
Musee de Cluny, Paris
With renovations ongoing since 2015, the Musee de Cluny in Paris will finally reopen in the spring. The museum was founded in the 19th century, linked to the Du Sommerard family, and it serves as France’s national museum of the Middle Ages.
Part of the renovations include the restoration of the Gallo-Roman baths in its lower floors, as well as a preserved medieval townhouse and chapel that have also been worked on.
For the museum’s reopening, the displays have been rearranged to follow a chronological order, with objects from the Byzantine period, Gothic period and up to the 1500s, including wool and silk The Lady and Unicorn tapestries, a series of six, woven in Flanders and designed in Paris.
Work on the museum includes an extension of its reception areas and the installation of ramps and elevators to enable greater access to disabled visitors.
Burrell Collection, Glasgow
Set to open in March, the Burrell Collection in Glasgow boasts more than 9,000 artworks in its inventory. The foundation for the collection goes back to William Burrell, a Scottish shipping merchant who acquired various antiques and objects throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, which he then donated to the city of Glasgow.
Included in the collection are works by French Impressionist Edgar Degas, including a rich pastel drawing The Red Ballet Skirts from about 1900; medieval and Renaissance works from northern Europe; ceramics and bronzes from China; carpets and stained-glass windows; and even artefacts from ancient Egypt and Iran.
The building, designed by John McAslan + Partners, is a refurbishment of the collection’s previous home from the 1970s. Gallery spaces have been added, as well as a learning centre.
Bob Dylan Centre
Fans of the American musician Bob Dylan, whose music was influential to the development of rock and roll in the 1960s and 1970s, can pore over more than 100,000 artefacts at the Bob Dylan Centre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which opens in May.
The collection includes Dylan’s notebooks, letters, paintings and manuscripts that reflect the musician’s influences throughout his long career. These objects will also examine the artist’s poetic side, as Dylan has published poetry volumes and was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 2016.
The centre will also make available unreleased recordings of his most memorable songs, including Like a Rolling Stone, as well as visual art that Dylan has created over the years.