Apollo Magazine

Museum Opening of the Year

Aberdeen Art Gallery
Reopened November 2019

A renovation and expansion costing £34.6m almost doubled the number of permanent galleries (to 19) and allowed three times as many objects to go on display. The history and wealth of Aberdeen’s civic collections, from founding collector Alexander Macdonald’s Victorian portrait gallery to recent acquisitions of Scottish silver, are now handsomely presented in the manner they deserve.

Photo: Gillian Hayes of dapple photography; courtesy Hoskins Architects and Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums

Aberdeen Art Gallery. Photo: Gillian Hayes of dapple photography; courtesy Hoskins Architects and Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums

The Box, Plymouth
Opened September 2020

One of few capital projects to have steamrollered its way through the pandemic this year (at a cost of more than £40m), the Box draws together the old civic art museum and library, their renovated buildings linked by a large extension that includes on-site collection storage in the ‘box’ that caps off the structure.

A collection of 19th-century naval figureheads, installed in the entrance hall at the Box, Plymouth. Photo: Wayne Perry

British Galleries, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Reopened March 2020

The renovation of these galleries – the Met’s flagship project in its 150th year – has involved a reconsideration of the global contexts of six centuries of British decorative arts. Around a quarter of the objects here were acquired with the new display in mind.

The Croome Court Tapestry Room in the British Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo: Joseph Coscia

Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister und Skulpturensammlung bis 1800, Dresden
Reopened February 2020

This €50m project has done much to improve facilities, but has also reintegrated sculpture and painting in the galleries and increased the sense of spectacle in the display of these great collections. Extensive conservation has been carried out on some 200 paintings and 300 frames.

The restored Antikenhalle, or Hall of Antiquities, in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden. Photo: H.C. Krass; © SKD

KBR Museum, Brussels
Opened September 2020

This new museum for the Royal Library of Belgium (now KBR), displays manuscripts from the collection of the dukes of Burgundy. Around 100 of them are shown across two floors, alongside armour, prints, sculpture and paintings, with the appreciation and interpretation of manuscript illumination at the heart of the museum’s mission.

View of the second floor of the KBR Museum, Brussels. © KBR

Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Ibeju-Lekki
Opened October 2019

The first dedicated university art museum in Nigeria is named after Yemisi Shyllon, a Yoruba prince who has donated around 1,000 works it – a founding collection that ranges from pre-colonial objects to modern and contemporary works by Ben Enwonwu, Nike Davies-Okundaye and others. Shyllon has also committed to funding the museum for at least 15 years.

Installation view, Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Ibeju-Lekki

The Shortlists Acquisition of the Year | Artist of the Year | Book of the Year | Digital Innovation of the Year | Exhibition of the Year

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