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Apollo Awards 2022

Museum Opening of the Year

25 November 2022

Bibliothèque nationale de France – Richelieu, Paris
Reopened September 2022

After a 12-year, €250m restoration of the 18th-century site, the museum now displays 900 objects (out of a collection of some 40 million). Literary attractions include Victor Hugo’s manuscripts and a copy of In Search of Lost Time marked up by Proust, as well as prints by Rembrandt and Picasso – many of them presented under the frescoed ceiling of the spectacular Mazarin Gallery.

Mazarin Gallery at the BnF

The renovated Mazarin Gallery at the Richelieu site of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Photo: © Guillaume Murat/BnF

Courtauld Gallery, London
Reopened November 2021

The rooms in the north wing of William Chambers’ 18th-century masterpiece on the Strand have been restored or expanded and, most significantly, the Great Room on the third floor has been opened up to provide an enlarged space for Samuel Courtauld’s celebrated collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings.

The Blavatnik Fine Art Rooms at the Courtauld Gallery, London.

The Blavatnik Fine Art Rooms at the Courtauld Gallery, London. Photo: © David Levene

Musée de Cluny, Paris
Reopened May 2022

When France’s only national museum of art from the Middle Ages reopened in full after its seven-year refurbishment, visitors found the displays arranged by chronology rather than typology – with some 500 objects restored for the occasion – as well as a slew of innovations that have brought the site up to 21st-century standards.

The Musée de Cluny in Paris.

The Musée de Cluny in Paris. Photo: © Musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen Âge

National Gallery of Umbria, Perugia
Reopened July 2022

Despite being home to some of the greatest works of Perugino, ‘the most national civic museum in Italy’ (in the words of its director) has had a tendency to be overlooked, but perhaps no longer. The Palazzo dei Priori in Perugia now has 39 revamped rooms, hung chronologically, and boasts new conservation facilities and a public library.

National Museum, Oslo
Opened June 2022

The largest cultural building in the Nordic region is the result of a merger between the National Gallery of Norway and three other museums of art and design. The displays now span 3,000 years and most of the entire 400,000-strong collection is stored onsite, to encourage cross-disciplinary research and new ways of looking at the objects.

The National Museum of Norway in Oslo.

The National Museum in Oslo. Photo: © Iwan Baan

Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
Reopened September 2022

After being closed for 11 years, Antwerp’s most important museum has reopened with an ingenious extension: new white-cube spaces for the modern collection have been inserted into four existing courtyards, with another gallery laid along the top. The results are invisible from outside the museum and, inside, the Old Masters galleries have been restored to their former glory.

The Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp.

The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp. Photo: © Mediamixer

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