10 of the best new UK museums and galleries for 2018

10 of the best new UK museums and galleries for 2018


V&A Dundee

One of the most significant new openings of the year will be Scotland’s first design museum – and also the first V&A anywhere outside of London – on 15 September. The museum building sits on the river Tay and boasts a bold, radical design by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma – its shape and form inspired by cliffs on Scotland’s east coast. It will celebrate Scottish design, objects in its collection ranging from a Cartier “Valkyrie” diamond tiara commissioned by the late Mary Crewe-Milnes, Duchess of Roxburghe, to original artworks of The Beano.

Royal Academy of Arts, London

An artist’s impression of how the restored facade of the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens building will look.

An artist’s impression of how the restored facade of the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens building will look when reopened in May 2018. Photograph: Hayes Davidson

To mark its 250th anniversary, the RA reopens on 19 May following a £50m renovation with a new gallery and expanded exhibition programme. These will include a “suite of three day-lit galleries”, which will host exhibitions with a focus on contemporary art and architecture. The grand facade of the Burlington Gardens building has also been restored – possibly the first time it’s had a proper clean in its 150 year history according to a report in the Art Newspaper. It’s one of several significant art openings in London this year: the Hayward reopened in January after a refurbishment of its pyramid roof lights, while south London will get a significant new gallery with the opening of the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art.

Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

Interior showing period furntiure of Kettle’s Yard house and art gallery in Cambridge.

Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

This modern-art gallery in a Victorian house was founded in the 1950s by Tate curator Jim Ede and reopened in February following a two-year redevelopment by Jamie Fobert Architects, the team behind the 2017 Tate St Ives extension. This means a new cafe, a four-floor education wing and improved gallery space that can accommodate more visitors. The gallery’s permanent collection includes works by Joan Miró, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and it reopens with the politically charged “Actions. The image of the world can be different,” an exhibition featuring work from 38 artists that “seeks to reassert the potential of art as a poetic, social and political force in the world.”

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Artist's impression of the new visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Artist’s impression of the new visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

One of the country’s favourite art attractions, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017, will open the impressive new Bretton Country Park visitor centre this summer. The £3.8m, eco-conscious building will include a new restaurant, foyer and shop, as well as a 125-metre-square gallery space that will host a programme of temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century art.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, London

Westminster Abbey, London.

Westminster Abbey, London. Photograph: Andrew Dunsmore

For more than 700 years, Westminster Abbey’s medieval triforium – above the nave, with views into the church and across Parliament Square – has been hidden from the public. This summer it will open its doors for the launch of a new gallery and museum, which will display treasures from the Abbey’s collection.

Fotografiska, London

Artist’s impression of the entrance and foyer at Fotografiska, London.

Artist’s impression of the entrance and foyer at Fotografiska

Part of the global expansion of the Stockholm-based photography museum, when completed Fotografiska’s London branch will be the city’s largest dedicated photography gallery. Due to open in November, the museum will occupy an 8,270 sq m space capable of hosting up to seven exhibitions at a time, as well as two restaurants, a cafe and a bar. Fotografiska will be in east London, near the Whitechapel Gallery.

Being Brunel, Bristol

The Being Brunel museum will open, in March, next to the SS Great Britain. Image shows new visitor centre and museum on the Bristol harbourside next to the SS Great Britain ship.

The Being Brunel museum will open, in March, next to the SS Great Britain. Photograph: Adam Gasson

Celebrating the life and work of renowned civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Being Brunel will open in March on Bristol’s harbourside, next to his SS Great Britain. The family-friendly museum will include a refurbishment of Brunel’s Grade II-listed Drawing Office, as well as a range of interactive and entertaining exhibits, including talking portraits of his friends and family and personal possessions, including an 1821 school report. Brunel admirers may also be interested in the launch of two new engineering themed galleries at the London Transport Museum, which will open in March and July and look at the Brunel Tunnel under the Thames along with contemporary engineering innovations.

V&A Photography Centre, London

Exterior view of the V&A museum in London.

The V&A museum in London. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian

London will gain another significant photography space with the opening of the Photography Centre at the V&A this autumn. The new centre will display some of the museum’s vast photography collection (around 500,000 images), combined with the similarly impressive collection of the Royal Photographic Society, which also holds hundreds of thousands of photographs, as well as 6,000 cameras and historic equipment.

D-Day Museum, Portsmouth

Exterior of the D-Day museum in Southsea, Portsmouth.

Photograph: Alamy

Following a £4.9m refurbishment, the D-Day Museum will reopen to the public this spring, in preparation for the 75th anniversary in 2019. It will feature new displays and galleries about the Battle of Normandy, focusing on the personal stories of those that took part – men and women, civilians and soldiers, and from Britain, Germany and across the allied forces.

St Fagans National Museum of History, Cardiff

Couple walk hand in hand past the wood and glass design of the St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff, Wales.

Exhibition pavilion at St. Fagans National History Museum. Photograph: Craig Auckland/Fotohaus

Continuing its major renovation project, the open-air history museum set around St Fagans Castle will open new galleries this October. The new galleries, in the main building and the multipurpose Gweithdy building, will create space to display objects from National Museum Wales’ history and archaeology collections, many of which will never have been shown before.

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