After an uncertain year, 2022 begins on a more hopeful note with opening dates pencilled in the diary for several museums and attractions across the UK. But, as Advisor also cautioned in its 2020 look at the year ahead, opening dates – often subject to delay even before the pandemic – are now also at the mercy of lockdowns and rapidly changing restrictions.
Among those planned reopenings are The Royal College of Physicians museum, which is set to open its doors to the public for the first time since the start of the pandemic, with visitors welcomed from 10th January 2022.
Glasgow’s Burrell Collection is expected to open in March 2022, following a £68 million refurbishment. The building, located in Pollok Country Park, plans to reveal a 35% larger, refurbished building when it launches,
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) has also announced it is to partially reopen in April 2022, ahead of its goal to fully re-launch for the Commonwealth Games in July. Based inside a Grade II* listed city centre landmark building, it is currently closed while electrical upgrade work of Birmingham’s Council House complex takes place.
Having closed its doors in August to facilitate the final stage of its £13.5m redevelopment – including a two-storey extension and the introduction of its South Asia Gallery and Exhibition Hall – Manchester Museum plans to re-open in late 2022, though an exact date has not yet been set.
The Huguenot Museum in Kent, which closed in October 2021 due to shortage of funding, also hopes to reopen in 2022, with no date yet specified.
And, first set to open in 2021, the new First Light Pavilion at Jodrell Bank has announced its new launch date as 2022. The iconic dome structure forms part of a £20.5 million project to better share the work conducted at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
While some venues are ready to welcome visitors in 2022, elsewhere new museums and attractions push on with construction. Among the most high-profile sits the rebranded V&A Museum of Childhood, now the Young V&A, following a £13m overhaul, which is set to open in 2023.
Also in 2023 is the expected reopening of The National Portrait Gallery. The venue is currently closed while it carries out its £35.5m ‘Inspiring People’ project, including a comprehensive re-presentation of the Collection, a significant refurbishment of the building, the creation of new public spaces, and a new Learning Centre.
Looking further north, Showtime Blackpool, a hybrid museum and attraction focussing on the area’s rich history in entertainment, is also set to open in April 2023. Construction on the site will continue during 2022, and its first online events are already advertised.
Changes at the top
This year has also seen a handful of senior appointments in the sector, which will undoubtedly impact the direction of its most important establishments.
In the new year Emmie Kell will take up a new role as Museums and Cultural Property Director at the Arts Council, bringing experience from roles at V&A, Somerset House, MOSIand and CEO at Cornwall Museums Partnership.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has appointed Eilish McGuinness as its new Chief Executive, from her current role as Executive Director of Business Delivery. In the new year, McGuiness will become the Chief Executive of both The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF).
Major exhibitions to open in 2022
In a bid to tempt visitors back through their doors, the first half of the year will also see a raft of new exhibitions appear in museums from the country’s best-known to the hidden gems.
The National Museum of Computing in Milton Keynes is to launch an escape room programme, in which visitors will be challenged to piece together puzzles based on computing history in order to escape. Beginning January 2022.
London Transport Museum welcomes Legacies: London Transport’s Caribbean Workforce. The exhibition celebrates the contribution Caribbean people have made to transport in London from the 1950s to the present day. 11 February 2022.
Consisting primarily of loans from across the UK and Europe, a new Stonehenge exhibition at the British Museum will shed new light on the story of the landmark, and the recently discovered ‘Seahenge’ structure. 17 February – 17 July 2022.
V&A’s Fashioning Masculinities will present around 100 looks and 100 artworks, displayed thematically across three galleries, celebrating the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. Opening March 2022.
At Bletchley Park’s World War Two Codebreaking site, the museum’s biggest ever exhibition and temporary exhibition galleries are to open in April 2022. The Intelligence Factory, a permanent exhibition in its largest exhibition space will tell the story of the location as an intelligence organisation unleashed in the second half of World War Two.
National Museums Liverpool has announced Migrant Artists Mutual Aid (MaMa) as the creatives for the first in a series of pop-up exhibitions planned for the Martin Luther King Jr. 4 March – 5 June 2022.
Tate Liverpool has announced ‘Radical Landscapes’ a new exhibition of landscape art which will include over 150 works, including Ruth Ewan’s immersive installation Back to the Fields 2015-22, and a new commission by artist Davinia-Ann Robinson. May 2022.
Liverpool’s World Museum is set to open a Doctor Who themed exhibit next year, in which visitors will be able to see original props and sets and interactive exhibits from the show. 27 May 2022—30 Oct 2022.