From gowns, fossils, and shadow puppets to Africa's avant-garde, these four museums give visitors very different slices of world culture. This year, plan a trip to see your favorite one—or all of them—in person.
China Academy of Arts Folk Art Museum
The seven halls of Hangzhou’s Folk Art Museum display the beauty of traditional daily life in China. The museum’s collection comprises more than 50,000 pieces, but the building itself is as impressive as the works inside. Designed by the celebrated Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the museum’s rooms climb the hills it was built into, its floors sloping naturally with the earth beneath it. The windows have a local touch: A latticework of thousands of roof tiles donated from village homes cast trippy shadow patterns along the floors.
Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech
Designer Yves Saint Laurent lived in Marrakech on and off for more than 40 years, and his eponymous museum, opening in autumn 2017, will showcase clothing and accessories from his vast archive.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
When this Cape Town museum for contemporary art from Africa opens in September, it will dedicate galleries to African-made video, photography, costumes, and, of course, contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Steinhardt Museum of Natural History
Designed to evoke Noah’s Ark, Tel Aviv University’s museum and center for biodiversity studies will offer visitors the chance to see some of its 5 million artifacts, fossils, and other specimens when it opens in early 2017.