From the Pompidou Shanghai to MoMA’s New Digs, Here Are 13 Major Museum Openings and Expansions Set for 2019

Mark your calendars—it's going to be a busy year.

Aerial view of the upcoming National Museum of Qatar designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Photo: Iwan Baan.

If you thought 2018 was a big year for museum openings and expansions—think of the Victoria & Albert Museum of Design in Dundee, and the Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland, to name just two prominent examples—then fasten your seat belts. The next 12 months are jam-packed with headline-worthy developments around the world.

Starchitecture firms like Herzog & de Meuron, Jean Nouvel, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro have been busy, lending their expertise to jazz up the museum landscape around the world. We’ve rounded up 13 of the most high-profile openings. (A few projects that were expected to open this year, such as the M+ Museum in Hong Kong and the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, have already been pushed to 2020.)

Be forewarned, many of the “expected opening” dates are vague—and as with all multi-million dollar construction projects—subject to change.

The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College

Rendering of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College expansion. Image: March, courtesy of the Hood Museum.

Expected to Open: January 26, 2019

What We Know: The Hood Museum of Art on the campus of Dartmouth College is getting a $50 million upgrade, thanks to the husband-and-wife architecture firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien, set to open at the end of January. The renovation was contentious in its early stages, as critics claimed that the new design was an affront to the original building’s architect, Charles Moore, and was effectively erasing his most important architectural contribution. The new building will add five new galleries to hold the museum’s 65,000-plus objects. It also adds an atrium and a new facade.


Norton Museum of Art, Florida

George Rickey’s Six Random Lines Eccentric II in the Pamela & Robert B. Goergen Garden, Norton Museum, Courtesy of Foster + Partners.

Expected to Open: February 9, 2019

What We Know: The $100 million, Norman Foster-designed addition to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, is gearing up for its grand unveiling in just a few weeks, on February 9. The new buildings boast 37 percent more exhibition space, expanded educational and entrance areas, and new public gardens (the first ever designed by Foster). The increase in exhibition space is already being put to good use: In April 2018, the museum announced that a transformative gift of more than 100 works from the collectors Howard and Judie Ganek will be housed in the galleries, including works by Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, and Donald Judd.


National Museum of Qatar, Doha

View of the restored historic Palace next to the upcoming National Museum by Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Photo: Iwan Baan.

Expected to Open: March 28, 2019

What We Know: After an extended delay, the much-touted new National Museum of Qatar is opening in Doha at the end of March this year. The announcement teases a “new immersive museum experience” at the Jean Nouvel-designed institution, which is centered in the newly restored historic Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, whose father is considered the “founder of modern Qatar.”

The new 430,000-square-foot building is intended to bridge the city’s ancient history with an infrastructure that is committed to contemporary art and technology. The museum will be organized in 11 chapters that tell the story of Qatar chronologically with displays of archaeological objects like the jewel-laden Pearl Carpet of Baroda (ca. 1865), plus newly commissioned works by Syrian artist Simone Fattal and French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel.


Centre Pompidou Shanghai, West Bund Art Museum

West Bund Art Museum, Shanghai. Rendering © David Chipperfield Architects.

Expected to Open: Early 2019

What We Know: Architect David Chipperfield designed the low-slung building complex on the Shanghai Corniche, which connects the Xuhui district to the historic Bund, enhancing the new cultural arena. Three main galleries form the crux of the building, situated atop a central lobby with a three-floor atrium; a sunken courtyard below gives visitors access to the lower level, lined with clerestory windows made of recycled glass that reflect the Huangpu River. The long planned collaboration between the Pompidou Centre and West Bund Group will cement what the architect touts as a “cultural collaboration between France and China.”


The Shed, Manhattan

The Shed. Photo by Brett Beyer.

Expected to Open: April 5, 2019

What We Know: The massive $550-million Chelsea-based project, deemed “America’s largest cultural startup,” will finally open its doors (or rather, unfurl its massive mobile-steel-exoskeleton) this spring. The 200,000-square-foot building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro has already changed the physical landscape of Hudson Yards. Its backers—including, prominently, lead donor Michael Bloomberg—are promising to change the cultural landscape as well, teasing programs and performances including a lecture by director and artist Boots Riley kicking off the grand opening. Other early projects include a joint exhibition of work by artists Tony Cokes and Oscar Murillo and a screening of Yanina Valdivieso and Vanessa Bergonzoli’s documentary film Beatriz González: Cinta Amarilla, which tells the story of  González’s fight to save her public artwork, Auras Anónimas, at Bogotá’s central cemetery.


Bauhaus Museum, Weimar

The Southeast Elevation with Terrace, Bauhaus Museum Weimar. Design courtesy Prof. Heike Hanada.

Expected to Open: April 6, 2019

What We Know: In keeping with a country-wide birthday bonanza celebrating the Bauhaus’s 100th anniversary, the central German city of Weimar is opening its Bauhaus Museum after a three-year construction period. The building is intended to honor the early Weimar phase of the Bauhaus school, emphasizing an architectural forum that honors the history of modernism. The inaugural exhibition will be devoted to the museum’s collection, which was started by Walter Gropius himself in the early 1920s, and will highlight some of the most enduring designs of the Bauhaus, like Marcel Breuer’s club chair, famously named for Wassily Kandinsky.


Statue of Liberty Museum, New York

Rendering of the Statue of Liberty Museum.

Expected to Open: May 2019

What We Know: The forthcoming, $100 million museum dedicated to Lady Liberty will be a freestanding building set on Liberty Island. It promises an immersive theater that will “surround visitors in the sweeping story of the Statue and the ideals she represents”; an engagement gallery will tell the story of the statue’s manufacturing and design process; and an inspiration gallery will offer a digital experience called “Becoming Liberty” where visitors contribute selfies to an ongoing collection.


Museum of Modern Art Expansion, New York

View of the second floor looking east with new Museum Store, espresso bar and The Daniel and Jane Och Lounge. Photo by Iwan Baan courtesy of MoMA.

Expected to Open: Summer 2019

What We Know: MoMA’s long-awaited, $450 million expansion finally comes to fruition this summer, bringing with it an additional 40,000 square feet of new galleries and public areas. (You might remember the controversy surrounding the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed expansion, which required the museum to demolish the neighboring former American Folk Art Museum building.) The result is 30 percent more gallery space, a state-of-the-art art studio and performance center, and a new dedicated education space, among other upgrades. In late 2018, MoMA received a $40 million gift from collectors Leon and Debra Black to put toward the expansion project, for which they were recognized in the naming of the Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center. Other major donors who have contributed include David Geffen and Steven and Alexandra Cohen.


K11 MUSEA, Hong Kong

Facade of K11 MUSEA Courtesy of PRNewsfoto/New World Development and K11 G.

Expected to Open: Late summer 2019

What We Know: The K11 Group, led by collector and real-estate mogul Adrian Cheng, is set to launch its latest “art mall,” the upcoming K11 MUSEA, a hybrid museum-retail-experience complex set in the heart of Hong Kong’s Victoria Dockside in Tsim Sha Tsui, known as “Hong Kong’s Hudson Yards.” Designed by the architects James Corner and Forth Bagley, the 10-story complex boasts impressive amenities: a vegetated facade with more than 50,000 square feet of flora and fauna; an amphitheater; and a 25-foot-tall LED screen.


Bauhaus Museum, Dessau

Rendering of the Bauhaus Museum Dessau by addenda architects (González Hinz Zabala).

Expected to Open: September 8, 2019

What We Know: The second of two major Bauhaus-themed projects opening for its centenary is located in the second city that the famed art school called home, where it transformed itself into the fountainhead of industrial design. Dessau’s $28 million Bauhaus museum boasts a host of features: “a soaring steelwork block in a glass envelope”; “a hermetic ‘Black Box’ will enable the presentation of the collection”; and a transparent ground floor where temporary exhibitions and contemporary shows will take place.


Albertina Künstlerhaus, Vienna

Night shot of the Albertina. Vienna. 2013. Photo: Gerhard Trumler/Imagno/Getty Images.

Expected to Open: Autumn 2019

What We Know: The transformative gift of collector and home goods magnate Karl Heinz Essl and his wife Agnes in October 2018—a trove of more than 1,000 works by postwar and contemporary artists valued at $103 million—will form the core of the Albertina’s forthcoming contemporary art center. Expected to open sometime in the fall, the Vienna institution’s new, $45 million contemporary art outpost will add some 18,000 square feet to the historic building.


Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Los Angeles 

©Renzo Piano Building Workshop/©A.M.P.A.S./ Images from L’Autre Image.

Expected to Open: Late 2019

What We Know: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures may not technically be open yet, but it has already scored a major coup, winning the $250,000 Sotheby’s Prize for its proposal to stage a show highlighting the history of black cinema in America. The museum, whose opening has been pushed until “late 2019,” has big plans to showcase the storied collection of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which boasts more than 12 million photos, 104,000 pieces of production art, 190,000 films and videos, and 60,000 posters.


The Humboldt Forum, Berlin

The Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace. © SHF.

Expected to Open: Late 2019

What We Know: The Humboldt Forum is a hugely anticipated, $675 million project, boasting that “a whole new cultural district is being created in the very heart of the city” and described as the “German equivalent” of the British Museum (by Neil MacGregor, former director of the British Museum, no less). The new building, which will be situated within the reconstructed Prussia-era Berlin Palace on Museum Island, will unite the holdings of the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art. The project has already felt the rumblings of controversy as it began to ship in colonial-era objects over the summer, without any statement about the works’ contentious provenance.

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