It will not escape many readers that several openings listed below were included in an article looking ahead to 2020. Best laid plans and all that…

With vaccine roll-outs now under way in many nations around the globe, however, it seems justifiable to hope none will make a third appearance in a 2022 preview.

Given the lesson from last year that nothing is set in stone, we have omitted specific dates and simply indulged in the notion that all these sites will be freely welcoming visitors at some point in the coming months.


Thackray Museum of Medicine

© Thackray Museum of Medicine/Twitter

Delayed not only by Covid restrictions but also due to its altruistic stint as a vaccination hub, the renovated Thackray Museum of Medicine’s reopening should take place in 2021.

11 new galleries form part of a £4 million redevelopment that will undoubtedly inject new life into the much-loved medical attraction.

Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein

Exterior shot of Mary Shelley's House of Frankenstein
© Ben Hewitt/Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein

The world’s first visitor attraction dedicated to the life and work of Mary Shelley is set to open this year in Bath.

Exhibitions spread over four floors will immerse the public in the author’s personal struggles and reveal the varied sources of artistic inspiration that led to the creation of a timeless literary monster.

Museum of Making

© Speller Metcalfe

The newest string to Derby Museums’ bow had been due to open last year but, as with so many 2020 plans, was buffeted back by the pandemic.

The £17 million project has been constructed in an innovative way – using the government-backed IPI model – and will display over 50,000 objects celebrating three centuries of creativity and craft in Derby.

The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld's new Bloomsbury Room © Nissen Richards Studio

Following a renovation that has both restored the site’s 18th century architectural heritage and installed a range of state-of-the-art facilities, visitors returning to London’s new look Courtauld Gallery can anticipate an entire redisplay of artworks and refreshed interpretation throughout.

Imperial War Museums: Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries

Imperial War Museums will this year open new exhibition spaces dedicated to conserving, displaying and interpreting the Holocaust narrative within the context of the Second World War.

The sensitive subject matter will be afforded 3,000m² of exhibition space as part of a major £30.5 million project.

Manchester Jewish Museum

© Manchester Jewish Museum/Twitter

Double the size it was prior to redevelopment, Manchester Jewish Museum is set to fully reopen in 2021 with a new gallery, learning studio & kitchen, collection store, shop and café. Repairs and refurbishments have also been made to the site’s synagogue.

Pankhurst Centre

The Pankhurst Centre © Pankhurst Trust

Also in Manchester, the Pankhurst Centre is set to reopen this year. Having secured three funding awards in late 2020 the outlook for a venue integral to the suffragette movement’s story is increasingly bright.

Museum of the Home

© Wright & Wright Architects LLP

Equipped with 80% more exhibition space than prior to its redevelopment, the Museum of the Home will this year welcome the public to new learning and event spaces, a Collections Library, café and living rooftop. Many visitors may enter the site via a new additional entrance situated directly opposite Hoxton tube station.

Jodrell Bank

Image courtesy of The University of Manchester

Looking slightly like the backdrop for a sci-fi remake of the Tellytubbies, the new First Light Pavilion will open at Jodrell Bank later this year. The dome structure forms part of an ambitious £20.5 million project to better share the work conducted at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Museum of Oxford

Visitors will enter via a new entrance in Oxford’s Grade II* Listed Town Hall

Having partially closed in 2011, the Museum of Oxford will this year reopen to visitors as a venue tripled in size. The refreshed attraction aims to tell the often-overlooked stories of Oxford and, in doing so, become an award-winning museum and community events hub.

Nottingham Castle

An artist's impression of Nottingham Castle after its renovation

Having undergone an extensive £30 million redevelopment that is now nearing its conclusion, Nottingham Castle is set to reopen in 2021 equipped with a new visitor centre and extension to the Ducal Palace housing Robin Hood and Rebellion galleries.


Grand Egyptian Museum

© The Grand Egyptian Museum/Twitter

A much-discussed project over recent years looks set to reach fruition in 2021, as Egypt’s major new museum will add fresh tourism appeal to the land of the pharaohs when Covid travel restrictions become a thing of the past.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Academy Museum
A view of Los Angeles' new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures from the sidewalk © A.M.P.A.S./Renzo Piano Architects

Pushed back several times already due to the pandemic, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures aims to be welcoming visitors in the final quarter 2021.

Given that the venue has already surpassed its eye-watering pre-opening fundraising target of $388 million, fears regarding the pandemic’s financial pinch are probably not too pronounced for the team out in Los Angeles.


© Adrià Goula

One great big hunk of Munch will soon welcome art lovers in Oslo. The 13-storey waterfront structure is another major venue unable to open as planned last year.

Other international openings

  • Bourse de Commerce-Pinault Collection
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Humboldt Forum
  • Museum of North Vancouver
  • Pudong Museum of Art

Opening a museum in 2021 that isn’t on the list? Let us know!

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