Nine Future New York Museums

Thinking about “future New York Museums” could inspire a ruminative, speculative essay on how the museum business will evolve over the next decade.  I certainly have some thoughts about that, given my intense museum-going over the past year.

However, I’ll save those thoughts for later.  (My essay on museums and Instagram offers a taste.)

More prosaically, as I near the end of my museum checklist, I have started to wonder about specific, new museums with plans to open somewhere in the city.  

It’s difficult to track “coming attractions.” However, the American Alliance of Museums, the body that accredits institutions for excellence, offers a good place to start.  Several future New York museums are already members there.  And that, combined with recent news coverage (and a few links from friends), leads to the following list.  It probably isn’t comprehensive, but here are 9 — make that ten– future New York museums.

Back from the Dead

Two future New York museums are actually throwbacks, places with history that shut down due to space or money constraints, but have plans for a comeback.

  • Dahesh Museum of Art.  Projected opening:  2018. The Dahesh opened in midtown in 1995, with a mission statement of looking at “European academic art” of the 19th and 20th centuries.  It closed in 2007, and has presented traveling exhibitions since then.  However, it is fixing up a townhouse on East 64th Street and expects to re-open later this year. 
  • National Academy of Design. Projected opening: unknown. The National Academy as a school dates all the way back to 1825, though its Fifth Avenue museum only opened in 1979.  It closed in 2016, with plans to cash in on its real estate and transition to a new home (the Times compared its ups and downs with those of SculptureCenter).  It’s got an amazing sounding collection, but unfortunately no clear plans, timeline, or even location for that new home.

New Through and Through

The other seven organizations are totally new.  They comprise an extremely diverse list.  If all goes as planned we will have new musuems covering art and artists, a sports legend, global forces, popular culture, and a whole continent. 

  • Africa Center.  Projected opening: unknown.  This place has been in the works for ages.  It even has a space in a swanky new residential building at the northeastern corner of Central Park.  I get the sense that it has substantial fundraising still to do.  Still, we have Asia and Americas Societies, it only makes sense to have an Africa Center too.
  • Climate Museum.  Projected opening: unknown.  The Climate Museum has been in the works since 2014, and seems serious about establishing an actual physical presence in New York.  Its website even has sketches from Icelandic environmental artist Olafur Eliasson to help visualize its aspirations.  Like the glaciers, it feels like it could take ages for this to become a reality…and it could all-too-quickly melt away.
  • Jackie Robinson Museum.  Projected opening: unknown.  The Jackie Robinson Foundation supports all sorts of good causes in the name of the baseball legend.  It has ambitious plans for an 18,500 square foot museum space on Canal Street.  However, it appears to be only about halfway toward lining up the financing.  So for now visit the Brooklyn Historical Society or City Reliquary to get your Jackie Robinson fix.
  • Milton Resnick and Pat Paslof Foundation.  Projected opening: late April, 2018.  This one is coming soon.  Resnick was a second tier abstract expressionist, and his studio (in a converted Eldridge Street synagogue, though not the Eldridge Street Synagogue) is about to open to the public.  I have generally liked the single-artist museums, like the Judd Foundation and the Noguchi Museum.  So I’m intrigued by this one.
  • Museum of Merchant Banking and International Trade.  Projected opening: May 2018. I suppose “MoMBIT” (oy) will be a sibling/cousin/competitor to the Museum of American Finance, only on an even more abstruse topic.  A looming trade war might help boost this place’s profile.  Or it could launch a virtual currency and call it MoMBITcoin.
  • Poster House.  Projected opening:  2019.  I think a museum of posters is a great idea!  I love vintage travel and alcohol posters for the content, and they are also often exemplars of great graphic design.
  • Universal Hip Hop Museum.  Projected opening:  2022 (!!).  Music can be challenging to house in a museum, as the National Jazz Museum in Harlem has shown.  And 2022 is practically forever from now. Still, it’s more concrete than several other places on the list.

 A Bonus for Liberty

Liberty Island, New York HarborSubsequent to posting this article, I’ve discovered another New York museum in the process of getting a major upgrade.  

Statue of Liberty Museum. The Statue of Liberty has long had a museum in her pedestal.  However, a large, very modern, very green-looking new building is currently under construction on Liberty Island, set to open in 2019.

I’m not going to go back and re-title or re-URL the article, but as of now make it ten future New York museums.  If I find another new one…well, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

One I’m Not Counting

I have one more “museum” on my future museums radar, but I am not counting it.  The “Museum of Candy” by celebrity lollipop maker Sugar Factory doesn’t have a website as of this post, but surely it’s a for-profit gateway to Millennial obesity and diabetes, rather than a legit museum.  If it turns out to be for real, I will eat these words, and a couture pop.

Note:  Original article posted on March 8, 2018.  Statue of Liberty Museum update posted on April 19, 2018.