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The World's 6 Coolest Museum Openings of 2016

Newbies to the culture landscape feature everything from wine to design

It’s a new year and ambitions are high. The hopeful among us vow to be better people and to do better things, despite multiple feet of snow or the nagging urge to hibernate. We make promises to eat more kale, to get more sleep, to lose more weight—so why not add experience more culture to the list? 2016 is slated to bring revolutions in the landscape of stateside museums: Met Breuer will finally inhabit the old Whitney space in uptown Manhattan, SF MoMA will come back to life after years of renovations, and don’t forget Washington, D.C.’s new Museum of African American History and Culture. And for those venturing beyond U.S. borders, there are even more new spots to choose from. Herewith, the seven most vacation-worthy international museums opening in the months to come.

1. La Cité Du Vin—Bordeaux, France
Opens June 2016
Sommeliers rejoice: the world’s largest cultural center dedicated to wine—the different varieties around the world, its evolution throughout the ages, its reach across countless cultures and civilizations—opens in Bordeaux this summer. Perched on the banks of the river Garonne, the museum has ten floors and a massive tower that offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Beyond its roster of international exhibitions—one a year that will celebrate a specific winemaking country—and educational workshops, the institution is also equipped with a 250-seat auditorium for documentary screenings, live shows and conferences, three tasting laboratories, numerous wine bars, an international wine boutique, and a wine-focused library and reading room. Drink up!—150, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France; www.laciteduvin.com

2. Palestinian Museum—Birzeit, Palestine
Opens May 18, 2016
“We aim to be innovative in our approach and to create a hub of new thinking and research about Palestinian history and culture, as well as a space for debate and creativity,” says Omar Al-Qattan, chair of the Palestinian Museum Taskforce. This unprecedented institution is located 14 miles north of Jerusalem in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and sited on 10 acres of gardens designed by Jordanian landscape architect Lara Zureikat to narrate the horticultural history of Palestine. The inaugural exhibition, “Never Part,” is based on over three years of research and a series of personal interviews with Palestinians, at home and in the diaspora.—Birzeit, Palestine; www.palmuseum.org

The new Design Museum in London opens in early 2016

3. Museum of Image and Sound—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Opens September 2016
Originally opened in 1965, this museum’s chic new home on Copacabana Beach will offer visitors a chance to experience the sights and sounds of Brazil, from national radio and video recordings to photography archives—not to mention a 280-seat auditorium and an entire floor dedicated to iconic Samba star and actress Carmen Miranda. Its new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed location—an extension of the adjacent stone promenade, originally completed in 1970 by Roberto Burle Marx—used to house the controversial Club Help discotheque, long associated with Rio’s prostitution problem. The new museum will have a party spot of its own, but hold the club attire: This relaxed piano bar is far more suitable for the international museum set.—Pça. Luiz Souza Dantas, Rio de Janeiro

4. Louvre Abu Dhabi—Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi
Opens late 2016
French favorite Jean Nouvel brings a new Louvre to Saadiyat Island, this one a $1 billion collaboration between the French and Emirati governments. Originally slated to launch in 2012, this massive institution for art old and new will open its doors on Dec 2, 2016, in time for the country’s National Day. As something of an amuse-bouche, an exhibition of the museum’s latest acquisitions, including manuscripts from early Korans to medieval Christian texts, will go on view at the Manarat Al Saadiyat culture center in July, followed by an August show of “immortal figures” sculpted in countries from Nepal to Papua New Guinea.—Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; louvreabudhabi.ae

5. New Tate Modern—London, England
Opens June 17, 2016
Created by leading architects Herzog & de Meuron, the expanded Tate Modern is expected to be the most important new cultural building to open in the UK for almost 20 years. Its inauguration will feature a complete re-hang and 60% more display space for its growing national collection of over 70,000 works of art, all organized around Turbine Hall—with the existing six-story Boiler House on one side and the new 10-story Switch House rising above the raw industrial Tanks space on the other. New urban spaces surrounding the building also include a panoramic roof terrace overlooking the London skyline.—Bankside, London; www.tate.org.uk

6. London Design Museum—London, England
Opens late 2016
After 25 years in its current Southwark home, London’s world-renowned Design Museum will migrate late this year to a landmark 1960s-era building in the Kensington cultural district, cozying up to such neighbors as the V&A, the Royal College of Art and the Serpentine Gallery. Megastar John Pawson has been tapped to remodel the space’s interior, while a brand-new permanent Design Gallery will grant free entry to the public for the first time in the institution’s history. The £80 million move will give the museum three times more space—including a specialist design library and an auditorium—and extend its comprehensive exhibition program, which celebrates designers from Charles and Ray Eames to Jonathan Ive.—28 Shad Thames, London; designmuseum.org

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