From a replica Louvre in the Middle East to the first museum devoted to American writers and another devoted to Dr. Seuss, make plans to visit these museum debuts.
One way to experience a destination is through a curator’s lens—as seen in museums big and small, where decorative objects, artifacts, and more are on display. Within the last six months, a slew of museums has opened around the world, tying together the concepts of culture, history, and art. Whether you crave art, animation, history, music, or science, here’s where to book your next trip. Bring comfortable walking shoes and don’t forget to turn off your smartphone for a more deeply immersive experience.
American Writers Museum
WHERE: Chicago, Illinois
Opened in May in downtown Chicago, the American Writers Museum’s goal is to bring to life day-to-day musings of famous late writers (including Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck) via themed exhibits, permanent collections, author talks, and high-tech interactive events. Book buffs won’t want to miss replica homes and historical sites from books like Tara, Cannery Row, and The House of the Seven Gables. “The Mind of the Writer” exhibit breaks down the approach to creating a novel or full-length non-fiction book.
Le Grand Musee du Parfum
WHERE: Paris, France
Who knew aromas have such power and intrigue? Tucked into the fashionable 8th arrondissement since its December opening, Le Grand Musee du Parfum features a three-part tour exploring the olfactory senses, beginning with historical aspects of perfume and winding into the highly skilled techniques in making parfum—but first, there are interactive games involving the sense of smell.
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture
WHERE: Washington, D.C.
Last autumn’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture debut brought 37,000 documents, photos, and artifacts (including glam costumes worn by Broadway actresses) to the Mall. Like other Smithsonian museums, there’s no admission fee. Grab lunch at the museum’s Sweet Home Café, which serves items like stone grits and Gullah-style Hoppin’ John.
Museum of the American Revolution
WHERE: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Where else but this history-rich city to open The Museum of the American Revolution (in Philly’s Center City since late April) and document the tale of our country’s quest for independence? Whether you have studied the Revolutionary War already or want to start now, this peek at the late 1700s is a unique slice of American history, with objects like a Philadelphia powder horn and General Washington’s tent doing all the telling.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
WHERE: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Since its announcement 10 years ago, art fans in the Middle East have been waiting for Louvre Abu Dhabi’s domed structure to open and now it’s finally (almost) time. Paris’ younger sibling—on Saadiyat Island—will house collections of photography, as well as paintings by artists like Piet Mondrian, René Magritte, and Paul Gauguin.
Moxi, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation
WHERE: Santa Barbara, California
America’s Riviera heated up in January with the opening of MOXI, a 25,000-square-foot science museum in downtown Santa Barbara, that encourages guests to touch and interact with the exhibits (perfect for families with young kids). For example, you can tool around on a 3-D printer or build a race car (then let it zoom).
Medieval Mile Museum
WHERE: Kilkenny, Ireland
On the grounds of a fully modernized 13th-century church (and graveyard) along the Medieval Mile is this new look at Kilkenny’s history and why it’s such an important medieval city. Open since February, visitors can glimpse civic treasures and High Crosses of Ossory replicas at the Medieval Mile Museum, as well as exhibits weaving in modern technology.
The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum
WHERE: Springfield, Massachusetts
New England’s summer kicks off with the June opening of The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Theodor Seuss Geisel’s hometown. Right after walking under a rather bizarre (but very Seuss-like) archway is a Cat in the Hat sculpture joined by some of Geisel’s drawings donated by his children. The desk where he created his characters is in the museum, too, along with his impressive bow-tie collection.
The Postal Museum
WHERE: London, England
Come July, Central London (Clerkenwell) will have a new attraction: The Postal Museum. Guests can ride the Mail Rail (electric rail line without a driver) and view interesting artifacts such as commemorative stamps, and telegrams from pivotal moments in history (like during the Titanic’s sinking). After-hours events and rotating exhibits provide a varied experience depending on when you go, with films, food events and craft sessions part of the calendar.
Songbirds Guitar Museum
WHERE: Chattanooga, Tennessee
In partnership with country-rock singer and guitarist Vince Gill, the Songbirds Guitar Museum—open since March in the famed Chattanooga Choo-Choo terminal station—is home to one of the world’s most esteemed rare-guitar collections (numbering around 1,700 from the early 1900s to 1970s). Even for those who have never strummed a guitar, the various designs and types (from banjos to Telecasters), when coupled with memorabilia, tell a riveting tale.