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2022 in new museum openings, re-openings and partial re-openings

The Museum of the Future in Dubai has a torus design with calligraphy on its exterior of visions for the city’s future. The void represents the things we don’t know. Photograph courtesy of architects, Killa Design

It’s always good to have something to look forward to at the beginning of a new year and in 2022 there are plenty of museum projects being completed including new museum openings, re-openings and partial re-openings.

Some of the projects have precise dates for launching, such as the National Museum in Oslo on 11 June, where you can expect a good party (Covid permitting) and others are more vague about when they will be opening their doors.

Some of the museum projects have been beset by holdups and seem to appear on these lists every year such as the Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza and others, that were set to open in 2020, have had to navigate lockdowns and soaring prices.

However, through their perseverance we can be assured that museum boundaries will be pushed, people’s stories will be told anew or revitalised, more collections displayed and aspirations met.

Here MuseumNext has picked ten new museum openings from around the world as well as three re-openings and two partial re-openings.

New Museum Openings

Museum of the Future

Dubai, UAE
Early 2022?

The Museum of the Future will have five floors of exhibition space exploring future challenges and developments. Photograph courtesy of Killa Design

Created by the Dubai Future Foundation, an organisation to make Dubai one of the world’s foremost future cities, the Museum of the Future has a goal to provide light in dark times ‘in an age of anxiety and cynicism about the future, we are showing that things can and must progress,’ it says.

Set to open in 2019 and again last year during Dubai’s hosting of the World Expo 2020 the museum is yet to open to the public (and we have not had replies to our request for an opening date) but as it is complete it could open anytime now.

The torus design of the building represents a void of what the museum says we don’t know, and underneath are five floors of exhibition space representing what we can project about the future.

Most advanced buildings in the world

The exterior of the torus building is covered with a poem by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum about his visions for the city and parametric design tools and a digital design approach have been used to make the museum one of the most advanced buildings in the world.

The museum consists of three floors of immersive exhibitions that will focus on possible futures including; space resource development, ecosystems and bioengineering, health, wellness and spirituality.

Another floor will focus on near future technologies that will transform the way we live through the topics of health, water, food, transport and energy. There will also be a floor dedicated to children where they can explore some of the challenges facing future humans.

Museum of Modern Electronic Music

Frankfurt, Germany

The Museum of Modern Electronic Museum will be located in a former children’s museum in Frankfurt city centre

MOMEM will be a place to explore, conserve and relive the historical dimensions and influences of Electronic Music. The museum is located in the former children’s museum building in the city centre and is the brainchild of local DJ Andreas Tomalla.

In seven sections, MOMEM will address the places, the social settings, the instruments, and the various influences of Electronic Music on art, fashion and technology, as well as its numerous genres and sub genres – from Ambient, Electronica and Experimental to House and its different types, to Techno and even Drum’n’Bass.

Sven Väth performance

A museum academy will also host lectures and workshops by well-known DJs, producers and artists. German DJ Sven Väth will launch the museum with a performance titled: “Sven Väth – It’s simple To Tell What Saved Us From Hell.” This will be in collaboration with sculptor Tobias Rehberger and the concert will explore Väth’s private archive of records, art, photographs, flyers and film.

Institute of Contemporary African Art & Film

Ilorin, Nigeria

A CGI of the new museum by Architects Studio Contra

Nigeria’s new visual arts museum will open Ilorin the capital of Kwara state north of Lagos.

The museum will be dedicated to visual and cinematic arts and feature curated art galleries, post-production studios, a cinema, lecture hall and co-working spaces. There will also be a café, sculpture garden and bookshop.

Nigeria’s first visual art institution 

Although Nigeria has bourgeoning film industry which goes under the sobriquet Nollywood ICAAF is billed as the country’s ‘first visual art institution of international repute’. It continues what has been an art renaissance in Nigeria over the past decade where contemporary art has flourished especially in the capital with events such as Art X.

Architects Studio Contra say that even though the art scene is buoyant there are few dedicated art spaces of scale that provide adequate cultural exchange which ICAAF sets out to do: “Resisting the notion of an art gallery as an elite cultural object, we have sought to integrate the building more into the life of the city and invite people in so as to create a locally relevant and viable institution.”

Museum of Broadway

New York, United States

The Museum of Broadway will open in Times Square

Opening in Times Square the Museum of Broadway will showcase the history of its musicals, plays and theatrical productions through displays and interactive experiences.

This history will be told through a visual timeline which will highlight the industry’s pioneers, landmark moments and most popular plays and musicals.


There will be a section entitled The Game Changers that will explore some of the most momentous musicals to change the landscape of Broadway through installations designed by leading contemporary visual artists and Broadway designers.

A map room will allow visitors to experience the history and migration of New York City’s theatres through immersive video projections and a The Making of a New Broadway Show section will go behind the curtain to show the making of a show with a special exhibition honouring the onstage and offstage professionals that make it happen.

National Museum

Oslo, Norway
11 June

The new National Museum will display 5,000 works of art, twice as much as previously

The National Museum will be the largest art museum in the Nordic countries which will older and modern art, contemporary art, architecture and design.

It was established in 2003 with the consolidation of the National Gallery, The Museum of Architecture, the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Total surface area of 54,000 sq m

The new museum brings all these collections together over a total surface area of 54,600 sq m with the museum able to display 5,000 (of a total 100,000) works of art, twice as much as previously. A new 7,000 sq m storage facility will house the collection and there will be three floors of exhibition space.

At the top of the building is the Light Hall which has a seven-metre ceiling height and will be the home of the museum’s temporary exhibitions. This area also has a roof terrace offering views of Rådhusplassen (city hall square) and at ground level a museum plaza in front of the main entrance will be a vibrant urban space with a meeting arena and outdoor restaurant.

Hong Kong Palace Museum

Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Palace Museum is located in the West Kowloon Cultural District, where M+ opened in November 2021

The Hong Kong Palace Museum aspires to become one of the world’s leading cultural institutions committed to the study and appreciation of Chinese art and culture, while ‘proposing to advance dialogue among world civilizations through international partnerships’. Although the cynic might see it as a bit of forceful soft power from Beijing.

Located at the western tip of the West Kowloon Cultural District, where M+ opened in November 2021 (and where some of the artwork was censored), the museum affords the visitor sweeping views of the city’s iconic Victoria Harbour.

Embracing new approaches 

The museum says it is ‘embracing new curatorial approaches’ offering a Hong Kong perspective and a global vision while presenting the finest objects from Beijing’s Palace Museum and other leading cultural institutions around the world.

It is a collaborative project between the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and the Palace Museum. The capital cost of the museum is fully funded by a donation of HK$3.5bn (£330m)from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

The museum says it will build international partnerships and help position Hong Kong as a global centre for art and culture through innovative research and travelling exhibitions, as well as educational, cultural, and professional exchange programmes.

Grand Egyptian Museum

Giza, Egypt

A man is seen working next to a Statue of King Ramses II after it was transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum. Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

It is 30 years since the Egyptian Government announced a Grand Egyptian Museum and 20 since a worldwide competition was launched to design the museum and a foundation stone laid in February 2002.

Construction began in 2005 and the project has since experienced environmental, financial and political setbacks including the Arab Spring in 2011, which led to three years of instability in the country.

The project resumed in 2014 and opening dates were set for 2018, 2019 and 2020. However, with further delays spilling into the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic the opening date is now set for November 2022.

World’s largest archaeological museum complex

Located just two kilometres from the Pyramids of Giza, the Grand Egyptian Museum will be the largest archaeological museum complex in the world with more than 100,000 artefacts.

It will house the largest collection of Tutankhamun relics and King Tut’s entire treasure collection will be on display. The collection will tell Egypt’s story from pre-historic times through to its pharaonic civilization and its life during the ancient Greek and Roman periods.

The Grand Egyptian Museum will take precedence over the old Egyptian Museum as the go-to place for the country’s history with the latter being renovated and will continue to display its significant collection antiquities.

International African American Museum

Charleston, United States

The museum rises up from the historic Gadsden’s Wharf

The International African American Museum is being built on the site of Gadsden’s Wharf along the Cooper River which was once the disembarkation point for nearly half of all enslaved Africans brought to North America.

The museum will create historical and cultural exhibitions that will share untold stories using classic techniques as well as new approached driven by innovation, technology and digital interactivity.

Themes will include connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African America culture and influence and the movements for justice and equality.

African American genealogy 

A Center for Family History will serve as a ground-breaking resource for the study and advancement of African American genealogy where staff will use the museum’s collection of primary sources to provide guidance to novice and advanced genealogists to learn about family history.

There will also be an African Ancestors Memorial Garden that will commemorate one of the US’s most sacred sites and feature an infinity fountain at the edge of the wharf.

It says: “The museum strives to foster empathy and understanding, empowering visitors with the knowledge of the past. The journey will challenge, illuminate, inspire, and ultimately, move people to action.”

East End Women’s Museum

London, England

Artist impression by Manalo and White Architects

This new museum will be the only dedicated women’s museum in England and will play host to exhibitions, events, school sessions and community group workshops that will record, share and celebrate women’s stories and voices from East London’s history.

These include moments in history such as the Bow Matchwomen’s Strike, the Battle of Cable Street, the Ford Dagenham machinists’ walkout and Bengali families squatting to improve housing. Stories will also include those everyday people as well as of footballers, inventors, carers, pilots, generals and pirates.

Museum origins

The museum origins date back to 2015 when a proposed Museum of Women’s History in Cable Street turned into the Jack the Ripper Museum dedicated to the unsolved murders of local women. Horrified by the change the East End Women’s Museum was established to represent the missing stories.

The museum will be an inclusive and responsive space for the diverse community it represents. Organisers say the museum exists because women have been confined to the margins of history for far too long.

Museum Director, Rachel Crossley, says: “Women’s lives have simply not been deemed as noteworthy, with the traditional focus on ‘great men’ of the royal, political and military spheres overlooking women’s more subtle, collaborative and domestic – but no less critical – contributions.”

Sydney Modern

Sydney, Australia
Late 2022

Sydney Modern, centre, will be connected to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to the left, through a public art garden

The Art Gallery of New South Wales will open Sydney Modern at the end of 2022 doubling its space and creating a two-building art museum connected by a public art garden.

It says the new standalone building will bring together art, architecture and landscape in spectacular new ways with dynamic galleries (including a converted WWII oil tank), site-specific works by leading Australian and international artists.

Largest arts partnership 

Set in parkland overlooking Sydney Harbour on Gadigal country the A$344m (£183m) project is the largest government and philanthropic arts partnerships in Australia.

The project will also see a revitalisation of the existing building to restore original architectural features and improve the visitor experience.

Sydney Modern will create a prominent destination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture and is the first public art museum in Australia to achieve the highest environmental standard for design.


Burrell Collection

Glasgow, Scotland

The Burrell Collection is undergoing a major redevelopment

Following a $68m, four-year refurbishment Glasgow’s Burrell Collection will re-open in March with dynamic galleries and digital displays telling the story of its 9,000 strong collection donated in 1944 by shipping merchant Sir William Burrell. 

Design Museum Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Design Museum Denmark is currently completing a comprehensive renovation of its historic 18th century building and the space outside has been redeveloped to create a public plaza with glass cabinets showcasing parts of its collection.

Manchester Museum

Manchester, England

Hello Future is a project to redevelop Manchester Museum, part of the University of Manchester, into a museum that better represents the city’s diversity.

The £13.8m project has created a new Exhibition Hall, South Asia Gallery, Chinese Culture Gallery and Belonging Gallery.

Partial Re-openings

National Museum

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Visual scheme showing possibilities of connecting the renovated National Museum with surrounding parkland

The National Museum in Rio de Janeiro confirmed that in 2022, to mark the bicentennial of Brazil’s independence, part of its facilities will be open to the public after being reduced to rubble by a fire three years ago.

In September 2018 a fire devastated the museum’s 200-year-old palace and it is now being rebuilt with the museum asking for specimens to be sent in from around the world to compensate parts of its destroyed scientific collection.


“We can guarantee the Garden of Princesses – the entire external garden area – will be open and we hope to have at least part of the historic building’s façade rebuilt,” said Denise Pires de Carvalho, rector of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), which manages the museum.

The National Vive Museum Project was launched last year to manage the reconstruction and so far R$244m (£32m) has been raised.

An Educational Visitor Centre is set to will open in mid-2022 in a new Research and Teaching Campus to allow students to have access to the collection.

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham, England
28 April

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is currently closed as it undergoes substantial electrical work and will partially reopen in April 2022

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery closed for essential electrical works throughout 2021 and has announced that in April it will partially reopen with a number of unique exhibitions, which are collaborations with local creative organisations and individuals.

This will ensure that as the city hosts the Commonwealth Games in July and August visitors will get to experience parts of the museum’s historic building as well as the city’s stories.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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