Friday, 29 January 2021

6 of the most exciting museum openings around the world

We are living in very uncertain times for the arts, with a whole tonne of cultural venues permanently shutting their doors in the past year. What’s clear though is that museums and galleries (and theatres) have provided culture lovers with solace in dark times. As we begin to plan for the future, these inspiring establishments can often help decide which cities need to be added to our bucket lists. Those interested in quirky museums should work in a visit to the Cupnoodles Museum in Osaka or Amsterdam’s Torture Museum. Another option would be dessert museums like the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco.

But for true art lovers, there are some very exciting opening or re-openings scheduled for 2021. In most cases, the venues have understandably been quite coy about exactly when they will open, so make sure to sign up to their newsletters or social channels if you want to receive announcements on opening dates directly.

1. Berlin’s Humboldt Forum

What they say

The Humboldt Forum is taking shape in the historical heart of Berlin as a unique place of inquiry and encounters. A place with a significant past. A place for the arts and sciences, for exchange, diversity and a multiplicity of voices. A place where differences come together.

Why we’re keen to visit

Describing itself as a place for culture and science, exchange and debate, the Humboldt Forum, Berlin’s newest landmark, took down its hoarding in December so that Berliners could enjoy the architecture ahead of opening in March, and you can take a look inside now. Behind the curatorial-marketing jargon there seems to be a real attempt to foster new ideas across disciplines.

What not to miss

Its architecture – which would be hard to miss I think? The Humboldt Forum as an entity was made by reconstructing Baroque features from the Berlin Palace that stood on its site – bombed in 1945 and demolished in 1950 – pieced together with cavernous, contemporary spaces. A statement larger than words. Exploring outside the building you’ll find gardens planted with 13,000 flowers and trees.

The plan is to launch in March, which is when they hope to have a big programme of exhibitions, including the launch of the Humboldt Lab and BERLIN GLOBAL, connecting the city to the world.

Humboldt Forum, Berlin
Humboldt Forum, Berlin’s newest landmark, is scheduled to open in March. Photo credit:

2. France’s Luma Arles

What they say

Luma Arles is a cultural centre in the South of France dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to experiment in the production and presentation of new work in close collaboration with other artists, curators, scientists, innovators and audiences. The centrepiece of Luma Arles is the Arts Resource Centre designed by American architect Frank Gehry.

Why we’re keen to visit

We have taken a look at the Luma Foundation website, as well as discovered their Luma Arles art project, which has been going since 2013, somewhat under the radar.

That all changes with their spring openings. It would be wonderful to explore the art, architecture and architectural landscape gardens in this Unesco town.

What not to miss

Catching sight of the stunning Frank Gehry-designed arts centre, a shimmering, magnetic presence within the complex, overlooking the new public park and gardens designed by Belgian landscape architect Bas Smets.

Also worth looking into, Luma Arles will be hosting photography festival Rencontres d’Arles, and the Les Suds world music festival every summer.

While you’re there, you’d also be next door to ancient Arles and its well-preserved Roman amphitheatre. And you might recognise more than a few of the surrounding landscapes from Van Gogh’s paintings.

Luma Arles, France
Luma Arles, a cultural centre in the South of France, is scheduled to open in the spring. Photo credit:

3. London’s Museum of the Home

What they say

Our purpose is to reveal and rethink the ways we live and think about home. The reimagined Museum will be a place for visitors to consider the ways we have lived in the past [and] explore creative ideas about new ways of living in, and looking at, the world today.

Why we’re keen to visit

Our idea of what home is and where it is, has never been as important or integral to our everyday thinking and well-being as it has been in the past year.

The Museum of the Home (formerly called the Geffrye Museum) had been shut for renovations some time before the pandemic struck, but we imagine an analysis of 2020 and all that it has meant for our homes will feature prominently.

In fact, they are asking members of the public to share experiences for their Stay at Home project. It may sound like homework, especially if being at home has been a trial, but don’t psychologists say the best way to deal with bad memories is confront them head on?

What not to miss

New Home galleries with new stories, including that of Shirin who moved to London from the African island of Zanzibar and a man named Harry who lived in the same house in east London for most of his life, as did four other generations of his family – and Rusty the tortoise! I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the same Harry I met years ago when promoting a recreation of his house at Imperial War Museums London. He was in his nineties and still went bowling every week.

Gardens Through Time, an outdoor survey of city gardens from Elizabethan knots and Georgian rooms to modern roof gardens.

The Museum of Home, London
Formerly the Geffrye Museum, the Museum of the Home will reopen in late spring. Photo credit: Jayne Lloyd

4. Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM)

What they say

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) holds in trust for Egypt and the World a chronological statement for the ancient history of Egypt over the past 7000 years. Neighbouring a timeless wonder, the Giza Pyramids, the new museum is to pay homage to eternal Ancient Egyptian monuments, treasures and history, hosting over 100,000 artefacts, about 3500 of which belong to the famous King Tutankhamun.

Why we’re keen to visit

GEM‘s plans to open have suffered years of delays (the Arab Spring, ensuing political turmoil, lack of funding and a global pandemic to name a few reasons), and 2021 seems quite an unlikely year to get to Cairo if they do at last launch, but this makes the prospect of the eventual opening all the more tantalising.

What not to miss

Probably the entire building and its contents.

Of the 100,000 artefacts in its collection, GEM have picked out a few highlights beyond the statues, monuments and sarcophagi we all think about; an alabaster cosmetics jar from the New Kingdom adorned with a lion poking its tongue out, a decorated gold dagger found on Tutankhamun; a Libyan tribute tablet carved with entrancing hieroglyphic patterns, dating to 3000 BC; a stela gravestone from the west banks of the Nile in Upper Egypt, still bright with colour 2,221 years on from the reign of King Ptolemy V, to whom it is dedicated.

The museum master plan shows there’ll be lots of terraces and gardens in the grounds (we like the sound of the Nile Valley Garden), and the panoramic views out to the Giza Pyramids are surely going to be phenomenal.

5. Los Angeles’ Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

What they say

When it opens, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will be the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. Global in outlook and grounded in the unparalleled collections and expertise of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy Museum will offer exceptional exhibitions and programs that illuminate the world of cinemaThe Academy Museum will tell complete stories of movie-making — celebratory, educational, and sometimes critical or uncomfortable.

What not to miss

Before even opening, the Academy Museum is a very slick operation, right down to the Rolex-sponsored countdown clock on the homepage announcing the number of days left until the 30th September opening.

The building has architectural clout as well as the might of the Academy of Motion Pictures behind it; the designer is famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, whose notable buildings include The Shard in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

2020 was the year no-one went to the cinema, so this opening is something film fans can be seriously excited about. The museum will have six floors of exhibition, education and cinematic spaces and they plan to hold regular screenings and live events throughout the year, making it a changing space, and no two visits quite the same.

Why we’re keen to visit

Who doesn’t love a Hollywood ending, after all?

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles will celebrate the world of cinema. Photo credit:

6. Stockholm’s Vrak – Museum of Wrecks

What they say

On the bottom of the Baltic Sea lies much of the world’s greatest cultural heritage. It is time to bring these wrecks and finds to the surface in a new museum. With Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, we want to let visitors dive deep into the secrets of the Baltic Sea.

Why we’re keen to visit

Stockholm is already known for having great museums, this one has the potential to be one of the most fascinating in the whole city. Vrak – Museum of Wrecks will be situated on Djurgården Island, next door to the slightly bonkers Vasa Museum – the home of the preserved 17th Century warship that was so enormous it sank in Stockholm’s harbour before it saw any service. A crazy, royal shipbuilding fantasy that led to the death of 30 crew.

Unlike the Vasamuseet’s more narrow focus, the Museum of Wrecks will bring together the work of all the naval museums in the city and show off the work of marine archaeologists who have been scouring Stockholm’s Archipelago and the Baltic Sea for decades looking for new shipwrecks.

What not to miss

The opportunity to learn about a vast underwater world – and crazy giant wrecked ships – through archaeology and technology. The museum is scheduled to open towards the end of the year. For now, here are some of the shipwrecks archaeologists have discovered in recent years.

From 2022 you may also be able to go diving with shipwrecks in one of several dive parks that are planned off the coast of Sweden’s Karlskrona region, south of Stockholm.

Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, Stockholm
A new maritime archaeological museum, Vrak – Museum of Wrecks, opens in Stockholm this autumn. Photo credit: Jim Hansson

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit For updates and travel advisories, please visit Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

SEE ALSO: 2021 travel trends: We ask industry experts for their predictions

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