It’s a new year, and with that comes an ever-expanding chronicle of our history. In the coming months, the new museums opening across the world—many the first of their ilk in their respective countries—will highlight everything from Swiss banking and French fashion, to American writers and Lebanese civil war. Among myriad options, don’t miss these 10 new museums opening in 2017.
Museum of the American Revolution—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Opens April 19, 2017
Head to the home city of the first Continental Congress and experience the history of the American Revolution. This museum is expected to be immersive and large-scale, allowing guests to personally replicate experiences from the 1760s—like gazing up from beneath a full-size Liberty Tree, feeling the rush from the front lines of battle, or entering an Oneida Indian council house.
The crowning glory of the museum’s collection is the piece that started it all more than a century ago: George Washington’s original tent, used as his command center, from the American Revolution. A minister in Valley Forge raised funds from around the world back then to purchase the tent, and it is now in museum storage with other artifacts collected along the way.
American Writers Museum—Chicago, Illinois | Opens Spring 2017
Pay homage to great American writers this year at the new American Writers Museum in Chicago. Visitors will be able to learn about famous authors past and present, and explore the works of rising stars in the writing world. The American Writers Museum will be the first museum of its kind in the country, exploring the ways in which writers have influenced America’s culture, history, and ultimately it's identity.
Along with artifacts from historical writers’ homes, the museum will also take a deep-dive into their writing processes through a variety of different displays. And a rotating exhibit space will explore special topics in American writing.
Museum of the Bible—Washington, D.C. | Opens November 2017
Just two blocks from the National Mall, this new museum will add to the world-class educational facilities already occupying the heart of Washington, D.C.. The 430,000-square-foot building will explore the history and narrative of the Bible, as well as the widespread influence and lasting impact of the book over time.
Every exhibit is designed to be tech-enhanced, whether that means visitors can walk through interactive scenes of the Bible in the “Narrative” section, or behold cinematic storytelling coupled with more than 500 artifacts in the “History” section.
Museum MACAN—Jakarta, Indonesia | Opens November 2017
MACAN, or the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, will be Indonesia’s first museum dedicated to current works of art. It is expected to have more than 20,000 square feet for exhibitions and a 5,000-square-foot sculpture garden within. The full opening in November will feature an 800-piece collection of both local and foreign art.
Can’t wait until November? Starting in March, MACAN will be offering a free series of weekend previews called “First Sight.” At each preview, the museum will host local and international artists, and work with teachers and schools on educational aspects.
Remai Modern—Saskatoon, Canada | Opens Fall 2017
With a unique focus on art in the modern world, Remai Modern brings Canadian works to the forefront with a fresh new perspective. Admission to the main floor of the museum is free, encouraginhg anyone to come in and browse the pieces on display or lounge by the interior fireplace. Upstairs will have a Picasso linocut collection—the most comprehensive one in the world—donated by the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation, as well as temporary exhibit spaces and a 150-seat theater.
The team at Remai is preparing for its opening in a way that incorporates the museum’s future-leaning mission: through online art exhibits. Each month, original works by a new artist will be featured—currently, the art of Berlin-based visual artist Rosa Barba is on display.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent à Marrakech—Marrakech, Morocco | Opens Fall 2017
Near the Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech (a garden Yves Saint Laurent helped save from planned development in 1980), the legacy of this legendary designer will find a new home. The museum will hold 5,000 pieces of clothing designed by Saint Laurent, as well as 15,000 accessories and even more original sketches. The research library is planned to be as impressive as the museum, with more than 5,000 books.
The opening of this museum coincides with the opening of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris. That one will be housed in the designer's renovated couture house and will have displays in the salons and studio.
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture—Dhahran, Saudi Arabia | Opens Summer 2017
Rising out of the Saudi Arabian desert, on the spot where oil was first discovered in the country, a new cultural center is taking shape. On the surface, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture looks like a pile of uniquely formed rocks, designed to symbolize the past, present, and future of Saudi culture and life. Inside, visitors will have access to a museum, library, movie theater, auditorium, exhibition hall, and archive.
The center was built for oil company Saudi Aramco, and the facility is intended to encourage current and future generations to get involved in culture, science, and art.
Beit Beirut—Beirut, Lebanon | Opens September 2017
From sniper den to museum, Beit Beirut will take a historical building known as the Yellow House and transform it into a memorial of Lebanon’s Civil War. The building, constructed in the 1920s and 30s, once housed eight apartments and several shops; but when civil war broke out in Lebanon, it was taken over by snipers—mainly due to the home’s prime location, which occupied a corner intersection of the wartime line that separated east and west Beirut.
The Beit Beirut project has been in the works since 2008. Once complete, the Yellow House will hold a museum, a cultural and artistic center, and archives. “It should offer a way of beginning the process which will end in the Lebanese being able to remember, to understand, to process, and then to say ‘never more,’” heritage preservationist Mona Hallak told the Middle East Eye.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa—Cape Town, South Africa | Opens September 23, 2017
ZeitZ MOCAA will be the first museum in Africa solely dedicated to contemporary art when it opens in September—and it will also be Africa’s largest museum built in more than a century. The goal is to showcase artwork from Africa and its diaspora, while also enabling local artists to look not just outside of the continent but also within it for places to showcase their work.
“Sometimes a project or an initiative can galvanize feelings about a whole place,” Thomas Heatherwick, owner of the studio that designed the museum, told CNN in May. “This project, I hope, can be one of a number of things that give a reason to look with a fresh eye at a city and a country and hopefully a continent—for those of us who don't spend enough time understanding it.”