Last year saw the opening of truly iconic global museums, including the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the Zeitz MOCAA in South Africa. This year, the museums in destinations from Virginia to Malta showcase regional as well as global treasures. From the first Scottish outpost of the Victoria & Albert museum, in Dundee, to the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York, there’s something for everyone. Here, AD rounds up the most noteworthy museums opening this year.
Victoria & Albert Museum, Scotland
Located in Dundee, a working-class town an hour and a half from Edinburgh and Glasgow, is the V&A’s first Scottish outpost and the country’s first design museum. The Kengo Kuma–designed waterfront museum is close to St. Andrew’s parish church. Among the first exhibits will be one of winged tiaras inspired by the helmets worn by heroines of Wagner operas.
Museum of Fine Arts (MUZA), Malta
Malta’s National Museum of Fine Arts at South Street closed its doors after 42 years, and its exhibits will be transferred to the new venue of MUŻA (the Maltese word for “inspiration) in a national community-art venture at the Auberge d’Italie. The eco-friendly, historic building was once the seat of the Italian knights of the Order of St. John. The museum opens during the year when Malta becomes Europe’s Capital of Culture.
Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle
Opening in May is America’s only museum devoted to the culture and history of five Nordic countries that include Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. The 57,000-square-foot museum and cultural center in Seattle’s Ballard neighbourhood will offer expanded exhibition and program spaces as a landmark destination for Nordic culture in the United States. The new museum, designed by Mithun, showcases a wide swath of the Nordic experience. Inside the building, visitors will find fjord walls composed of faceted white plans evoking glacial origins.
Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
A new fine art institution opens in January in the burgeoning Central Arts district of St. Petersburg, Florida, and it will display the growth and diversification of the studio glass movement in America since the 1960’s. It will also showcase new directions in contemporary glass. St. Petersburg is also home to the Salvador Dalí and the Morean Arts Center, which has an impressive Dale Chihuly collection.
Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta
Opening in the heart of Edmonton’s downtown arts district is the Royal Alberta Museum, which will be the largest museum in Western Canada, on 419,000 square feet of space (basically, double its size from the former space). It will house various exhibits on subjects including natural and human history; a children’s gallery; a bug room; and a Manitou Stone gallery. Visitors will also find local exhibits such as the one on Rocky Mountain flora.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto
In the spring, MOCA will move to its new 55,000-square-foot home in Toronto’s Lower Junction area, and occupy the first two and a half floors of the Tower Automotive building. Exhibits will promote innovative art by Canadian and international artists whose works engage and address challenging issues and themes relevant to our times.