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National Museum of Norway
Photograph: Borre Hostland

The 8 best new museums opening around the world in 2022

From Serge Gainsbourg’s long-shuttered home to the brand-new Museum of Broadway, these are the coolest museums and galleries opening this year

Sophie Dickinson
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Sophie Dickinson
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There was a time, in the seemingly endless lockdowns of last year (and the year before that), where it seemed like IRL culture had just stopped. The idea of a brand-new gallery popping up didn’t just seem unlikely, it felt impossible. But the worlds of art and heritage didn’t actually cease to exist. Across the globe, artists continued to create strange, groundbreaking works. Galleries battled through. And now 2022 is here (and the virus appears to be fading), a whole host of new museums (new!) are opening their doors for the very first time. Here are eight of the most exciting museum openings of the year.

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The best new museum openings of 2022

The Istanbul Museum of Modern Art was an icon of the Karakoy waterfront, before it was relocated temporarily to build a new state-of-the-art complex, designed by legendary architect Renzo Piano. The return of the Modern is set to enliven a seaside stretch that has also seen the recent opening of Galataport, a multipurpose development with a long pedestrian promenade along the Bosphorus, as well as a bevy of shops and restaurants. The space will also hold a library, cinema, design store and several event spaces.

When it finally opens in November 2022, the Grand Egypt Museum will be the biggest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilisation. It’s located in Giza, within snooping distance of the great pyramids and a 40-minute drive from the capital, Cairo. The museum’s rotating display will comprise 50,000 artefacts, but most importantly, this will be the first time that all 5,000 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s treasure will be displayed in the same place since its discovery – death mask included.

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The Parisian townhouse where the feted (and more than occasionally controversial) French singer Serge Gainsbourg has been closed off to the public since his death in 1991. This spring, though, it’ll finally open as a museum dedicated to his life and work. The project has been led by his daughter – the actor and singer Charlotte – and the main attraction will surely be Serge’s famously eccentric living area, with its piano, art deco bar and huge collection of sculptures.

The expansion of the Art Gallery of New South Wales has cost a cool A$247 million (£130 million or $177 million). That’s a lot of cash. But the renovation is properly stunning. Visitors enter via a vast glass façade, which hangs above a pair of decommissioned Second World War oil tanks. Collections by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are given precedence in the new gallery spaces, and green roofs, rainwater harvesting and solar panels also make it one of Australia’s most sustainable buildings.

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When visitors head to a Broadway show next summer, they may want to consider getting there a few hours early. That way, they’ll be able to spend some time exploring the brand-new Museum of Broadway, the first-ever institution dedicated to the history of the Great White Way. Exhibits include ‘The Making of a Broadway Show’ and a history of musical game-changers. It’s certain to be an informative and entertaining peek behind the curtain.

This year, the National Museum of Norway will open on Oslo’s waterfront, becoming the largest museum in the Nordics. The museum collection includes a whopping 100,000 objects, with highlights including the Norwegian Baldishol tapestry and an array of Golden Age Flemish landscapes. But the standout feature of the new building is the 2,400-square-metre ‘Light Hall’ at the top – a truly dazzling setting for the museum’s many masterpieces.

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Expected to open in July 2022, the Hong Kong Palace Museum will house nine galleries, full of rare books, traditional calligraphy and imperial treasures on loan from the Forbidden City in Beijing. It’s family-friendly, too: the complex will feature education rooms, nursery spaces and interactive experiences aimed specifically at kids. Keep an eye out for international collaborations – the first is an exhibition curated with the Louvre. 

Opening towards the end of the year, this brand-new gallery in southern India was founded by businessman Abhishek Poddar. He’s known for his eclectic collection of art and photography and more than 18,000 of his own pieces will be on display here. Expect everything from textiles to sculpture and painting. Can’t make it out to Bengaluru? The museum is going to have digital exhibits on its website, so you can get your culture fix remotely. 

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