From Louis Armstrong's trumpet to the priciest Rolex, world's new museums

The Academy of Motion Pictures Museum will open in September 2021.
PHOTO: Academy Museum Foundation

As Hong Kong’s M+ museum of visual culture finally cuts the velvet rope, we take a look at other museums around the globe that have recently opened, or are in the process of opening.

The Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan

Osaka might be best known for sensational street food, raucous comedy clubs and electrifying nightlife, but for a more cerebral take on the city, future visitors might like to head for Nakanoshima.

It joins the nearby Osaka Science Museum and the National Museum of Art, Osaka.

Behind the Nakanoshima Museum of Art’s striking black block facade are nearly 6,000 works of contemporary Asian and international art.

René Magritte’s surrealist painting Le Bouquet Tout Fait (1957) and Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Le Nez (The Nose, 1949) are part of the permanent collection, alongside important Japanese Impressionist paintings by Yoshihara Jiro and Fujishima Takeji.

Elsewhere, there are industrial design archives, an auditorium and a room dedicated to the Kansai-based Gutai avant-garde art movement of the 1950s.

The National Museum of Art, Osaka
The Nakanoshima Museum of Art in Osaka, Japan. PHOTO: OsakaStation.com

The Grand Egyptian Museum, Giza

The sands of time have slipped by since the Grand Egyptian Museum was originally set to open in 2011 – but what’s a mere 10 years to a civilisation that has been around for more than five millennia?

What will become the world’s largest archaeological museum is now slated to open in November 2022, on the Sahara-whipped outskirts of Cairo, inside the Giza pyramid complex, which encompasses the Great Sphinx and the Giza Necropolis.

Costing over US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion), the museum will host more than 100,000 artefacts across dozens of galleries, including an enormous, 82-tonne (90-ton), 3,200-year-old statue of Ramses II and a ritual Khufu ship dating back to around 2500BC, as well as 2,000 treasures that will be on display for the first time.

The centrepiece of the collection will be the Tutankhamen gallery, featuring thousands of items recovered from the Boy King’s tomb, including his gold mask and sarcophagus, piles of jewels and a gold ceremonial chariot.

The National Museum of African American Music, Nashville, United States

national museum of african american music
The National Museum of African American Music. PHOTO: Matt Wronski

Joining the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry, the National Museum of African American Music seals Nashville’s status as America’s undisputed Music City.

Opened on Martin Luther King Jnr Day (Jan 18) this year, the museum spans 5,000 square metres (56,000 sq ft) and is divided into seven sections featuring interactive exhibitions, memorabilia, posters, clothing and musical artefacts (Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, Ella Fitzgerald’s Grammy awards, Whitney Houston’s dresses) covering more than 400 years of black music.

Designed to shed light on African-Americans’ musical history and influ­ence, each gallery tells a compelling story. The Roots Theatre showcases an immersive film experience introducing the plight of Africans during slavery.

Another section, Wade in the Water, traces the roots of gospel music, and The Message focuses on the origins of hip hop in the 1970s.

The Humboldt Forum, Berlin, Germany

The Humboldt Forum. PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/DW News

Lauded as the largest cultural develop­ment in Europe, the Humboldt Forum occupies a Prussian palace that was designed by German baroque sculptor and architect Andreas Schlüter at the turn of the 18th century, bombed during World War II, then replaced with the East German Palace of the Republic before being rebuilt as a world-class museum.

It features three of the original facades and a contemporary exterior facing the Spree River.

Dedicated to art, culture and science, the Humboldt is set to host more than 1,000 events a year – guided tours, talks, dance, film – drawing about three million visitors annually.

The 2021 programme has included topical exhibitions on the impact of environmental change and loss of biodiversity on society and democracy, and the global trade-in illicit ivory in relation to colonialism, which sparked a major debate around Germany’s own record of colonial exploitation.

The Museum of Art Pudong, Shanghai, China

The Museum of Art Pudong. PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/ShanghaiEye

Shanghai added another mega-museum to its cultural portfolio with the arrival of the Museum of Art Pudong, in July. Set on the bank of the Huangpu River, in the shadow of the Oriental Pearl Tower, the glass box was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, famed for his work on the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and the National Museum of Qatar, in Doha.

Working in partnership with world-class museums around the world, including Tate Britain, the Museum of Art Pudong has put together an enormous collection.

Spread over six floors, 13 exhibition halls and some eye-catching public spaces, the works span the gamut from European Impressionism (Claude Monet’s The Seine at Port-Villez; 1894) to works from the mid-century American Light and Space Movement by James Turrell, to strikingly beautiful contemporary art from Chinese fireworks artist Cai Guoqiang.

Go for the art and stay for the rooftop garden, which has splendid views of the Bund.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles, United States

A red-carpet gala attended by a galaxy of stars including Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Cher and Katy Perry, marked the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in September.

Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, and costing US$462 million, the museum features a handful of galleries, two theatres, numerous screening rooms and an educational hub.

Inaugural exhibitions include sections devoted to Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki, Spike Lee, Pedro Almodóvar, and Hong Kong legend Bruce Lee.

Permanent exhibitions celebrate the art, history, technology, innovations and influence of the movies, from the late 19th century to the present day, through massive LED displays of famous film clips, immersive experiences (accept your own Oscar) and collections of films, photos, scripts, costumes and ephemera.

All of this including Dorothy’s red slippers from The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars droids R2-D2 and C-3PO and the world’s most expensive Rolex, an Oyster Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 6239 “Paul Newman”, which was last seen when it was sold at auction for US$17.7 million, in 2017.

GES-2, Moscow, Russia

The Big Clay #4 sculpture by Swiss visual artist Urs Fischer in front of GES-2, a former power station in Moscow. PHOTO: dreamstime.com

Russian gas billionaire Leonid Mikhelson has spent a chunk of his fortune trans­forming a 1907 power station into an exciting space for contemporary art in the heart of Moscow, complete with LEED sustainability certification and a special energy efficient clean-air ventilation system.

Another Renzo Piano design, the site is organised into three main areas: The Welcoming Pole, featuring outdoor sculpture, a library, an auditorium and a bookshop with cafe; the Exhibitions Pole, hosting the main galleries with dedications to Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Richter and Christopher Wool; and the Education Pole, which has an artist residency block, performance spaces and a summer school.

Located on the Red October island, GES-2 will take its place in Moscow’s Museum Mile, alongside Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

Plenty of smaller and more niche museums have also emerged in 2021.

In Vienna, Austria, the Sigmund Freud Museum has opened some of the psychiatrist’s private rooms and photo archives to the public.

Designed by Kengo Kuma and fittingly set within a fairy-tale maze, the Hans Christian Andersen Museum, in Odense, Denmark, knits together Andersen’s personal effects, original books, art and illustrations, and highlights them with magical light and sound installations.

Closer to home, Hong Kong welcomed the CupNoodles Museum, in Tsim Sha Tsui, where, for HK$60 (S$10.41) a ticket, you can admire a wall of Cup Noodles pots from around the globe, design your own carb-happy cup and learn about the surprisingly interesting history of instant ramen.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.