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Eight new museums around the world for 2021

It’s been a hard year for museums and galleries, but these new and upcoming museums are set to feed your curiosity for the months ahead.

Published 26 Dec 2020, 08:00 GMT
The Humboldt Forum is set to be a shpwstopping addition to Berlin's Museum Island.

The Humboldt Forum is set to be a shpwstopping addition to Berlin's Museum Island.

1. Humboldt Forum, Berlin

Expect huge fanfare when the Humboldt Forum finally opens on 17 December — its much-awaited opening has been hampered by delays. The enormous, 42,000sq metre addition to Museum Island is a high temple to art, science and culture, set to stage around a thousand events and exhibitions when the full programme is rolled out. For now, at least, the museum is opening in stages, with an exhibition on the history of the German capital among the first to go on show.

2. Western Australian Museum, Perth

Leading the charge in Perth’s emerging cultural district, this is one of the world’s most spectacular new openings. A hefty A$400m (£220m) has been shelled out on this ambitious project, which sees 19th-century heritage buildings revamped with cutting-edge architecture and topped off with the city’s largest rooftop space. It’s not just about the looks — inside are eight new permanent galleries exploring Western Australia’s past, present and future, as well as the relationships between the people and places of the country’s largest state.

3. National Museum of African American Music, Nashville

Music-lovers will soon have another reason to hit the Tennessee capital. Opening in early 2021, this is said to be the only museum devoted to the musical contributions of African Americans. From the Great Migration and jazz and blues to the present day, its expertly curated exhibitions are set to be a timely celebration of how African Americans have shaped the soundtrack of the US.

4. Museum of the Home, London

While the collection at the former Geffrye Museum is still as fascinating as ever, it’s undergone a huge transformation to become the new Museum of the Home. Set in a row of handsome 18th-century almshouses in Hoxton, the museum of social history will boast new galleries, extended exhibition spaces and a reading room when it reopens in the spring. The pretty Gardens Through Time outdoor space and a new cafe will make it a plum spot to while away an afternoon.

5. MUNCH, Oslo

Cutting a modern dash by the water in Bjørvika, MUNCH will be home to the largest collection of works by Edvard Munch, the artist who gave us The Scream. But when it opens in 2021, the museum will delve far beyond that iconic painting and into the Expressionist’s vast and varied repertoire, with paintings, drawings and photographs from a 45,000-strong collection bequeathed to the city on his death in 1944. There’ll also be a programme of temporary exhibitions celebrating young contemporary artists, too.

6. Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna

The opening of Sigmund Freud’s private rooms with a photo exhibition is a new chance to take a closer look into his life and work. The psychoanalyst spent 47 years at Berggasse 19 before fleeing to London ahead of the Second World War, and his former home has been the Sigmund Freud Museum since 1971. The emptiness of the rooms is part of the point: Freud took most of his belongings with him to London, and his minimal former home is now a poignant reminder of exile and freedom.

7. Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Odense

It’s only fitting that a new museum dedicated to the writer’s works resembles something of a fairyland. Opening in summer 2021 in Andersen’s hometown, the cultural space will inspire the imagination with giant toadstools, reed-fringed ponds and hanging gardens in an architectural ode to the author’s timeless tales, designed by Kengo Kuma. The site will also be home to Tinderbox, an interactive family area with events and workshops for families.

8. Planet Word, Washington, D.C.

‘The museum where language comes to life’ — it’s a fitting mantra in a city that’s seen no shortage of speeches and schmoozes. The new string to the US capital’s cultural bow is dedicated to the fascinating world of language and words, and makes good use of technology and immersive experiences, including a voice-activated exhibit. It’s located in the Franklin School where, rather fittingly, the first wireless voice transmission took place in 1880 by Alexander Graham Bell.

Published in the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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