Home to a diverse and varied array of communities and cultures, the U.S. is all about telling stories of the nation’s past, present and future. From the International African American Museum in Charleston to the Museum of Broadway in New York City to the Molina Family Latino Gallery in Washington D.C., here are 10 museum debuts in 2022 - 2023 that promise to take visitors on a cultural deep dive.
(List is organized geographically, north to south.)
1. NFT Museum
Since opening in January 2022, the NFT Museum (non-fungible token) in Seattle has been billed as the first art museum and gallery to exhibit blockchain art, paving the way for a revolutionary new era in art history, establishing Seattle as a reputable hub for blockchain innovation. The 3,000-square-foot space houses more than 30 custom-designed screens where visitors can see artwork by local and international artists. Highlights include pieces by the Los Angeles-based crypto artist Blake Kathryn, Larva Labs' hugely popular CryptoPunks avatars and Seattle-based photographer Charles Peterson, showcasing never-before-seen photos of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain as NFTs.
2. Black Holocaust Museum
As of February 25, 2022, Milwaukee’s Bronzeville district resumed as a centre of African American culture. The Black Holocaust Museum, founded in 1988 by Dr. James Cameron, reopened to the public following a 14-year closure. The 10,000-square-foot space takes visitors on a journey through more than 4,500 years of African and African American history. From 1910 to the 1950s, Bronzeville buzzed with Black-owned businesses, but it was decimated by “urban renewal” projects that razed thriving Black neighbourhoods across America. Today, Bronzeville is supported by $400 million of redevelopment funds which are helping to reinvigorate its history and heritage.
3. Museum of Broadway
New York City
Opening in summer 2022, amidst the bright lights of Times Square, the Museum of Broadway will be the first-ever permanent museum dedicated to “The Great White Way” honouring its legacy. The multi-story Museum of Broadway will blend immersive installations and traditional displays, telling the history of the legendary theatre district from its 1735 beginnings to present-day shows, such as Hamilton. This meshing of art and technology will be divided into three sections: a map room of Broadway utilising immersive video projections; a visual Broadway timeline, along which viewers will delve into the stories behind such ground-breaking musicals like Hair and Rent, learning how women led the way in much of Broadway’s early storytelling; and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Broadway show, from set design to lighting.
4. The Molina Family Latino Gallery
Scheduled to open in spring 2022, The Molina Family Latino Gallery will be the Smithsonian’s first gallery on the National Mall to celebrate the Latino experience in the United States. The 4,500-square-foot gallery will open with ¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States, an exhibition that will shine the spotlight on the historical and cultural legacy of U.S. Latinos, offering visitors the chance to engage with first-person digital storytellers, data-driven maps, videos and illustrated biographies.
5. Bob Dylan Centre
May 10, 2022 will welcome the highly anticipated Bob Dylan Centre boasting a 100,000+ piece collection, spanning the entire length of the iconic singer and songwriter’s career. This exclusive treasure trove of Dylan memorabilia will be the centrepiece to a three-story museum that is opening in Tulsa’s vibrant Arts District, welcoming visitors to attend public programmes, performances and lectures. The museum will tell the story of Dylan, who is widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in history, through handwritten manuscripts to unreleased concert recordings.
6. The Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco
In autumn 2022, San Francisco will welcome the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), a non-collecting contemporary art museum, focusing on the artists themselves. It will be a 50/50 split between emerging Bay Area artists on-the-verge of national or international attention, and more established local and international artists. Its 11,000-square-foot warehouse space will dazzle visitors hosting large-scale installations or pieces with atypical proportions. Its shift away from acquisitions aims to create a space that is responsive to the moment, creating programmes with increased relevance and meaning.
7. The Yosemite Climbing Museum & Gallery
Visitors to Yosemite Mariposa County can reach a new peak of local rock-climbing lore and legacy at the Yosemite Climbing Association Museum & Gallery, set to open in spring 2022. The centre will feature more than 10,000 pieces, a priceless collection of historical climbing artefacts (including stove leg pitons used on early Nose route ascents of El Capitan) and dozens of archival photographs that tell the rock-climbing community’s story through the ages.
8. International African American Museum
Charleston, South Carolina
Nearly half of all African slaves brought to the U.S. came through Charleston’s Gadsden’s Wharf, where the International African American Museum is slated to open in late 2022. The new museum aims to tell never-before-told stories of the African American journey and themes will include connections across the African diaspora, the spread of African American culture and influence, and the movements for justice and equality. From digital interactivity to live performances, visitors will learn about historic figures and events dating back to the start of slavery, the role of South Carolina in the development of the international slave trade, and the worldwide impact of African American culture.
9. Africatown Heritage House
The community of Africatown, just north of downtown Mobile, Alabama, is one of America's treasured historical communities and in May 2022, the Africatown Heritage House will open. The $1.3 million multisensory project will be the only exhibit in the world to show artifacts from the Clotilda - bringing to life the story of the 110 captives. A memorial garden will also be designed as part of the landscape and will incorporate carefully curated sculptural ceramics from renowned artist, Charles Smith.
10. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
Los Angeles, California
The $1-billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is set to premier in 2023 in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, founded by philanthropist and filmmaker George Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments. The museum will bring together mass-produced images, showcasing the richness and complexity of visual storytelling. The galleries will feature works from Lucas’ personal collection of more than 100,000 pieces of fine and popular art as well as “Star Wars” ephemera, not to mention state-of-the-art cinematic theatres, numerous dedicated spaces for learning and engagement, green spaces and restaurants.