’23 Renaissance of Museums & Culture

By Jo Phillips

2023 will bring a renaissance of world museums and cultural projects. Following 2 years of pandemic closure the world of culture experiences a renaissance. A new wave of cultural flair that transcends across the world – with gala opening in Norway, Egypt and Hong Kong in 2022, is soon to hit Poland with its own national historical symbol.

National museums have since their creation been at the centre of ongoing nation-making processes. Eunamus, a European-funded project, concluded in a 2022 research that national museums are not only Europe’s ‘cultural glue’, contributing to the communal attitudes needed for communities to meet a future of sustainable and inclusive growth but also serve as platforms that help stabilize but also change national identity. 

Experts agree that government support is critical for museums’ financial stability, both in terms of direct financial assistance and in the effects that it has on the economy. The museum is an essential cultural institution because it protects, preserves, and disseminates history and culture.

There is plenty of investment in the museum sector today. The post-Covid period has seen governments across the world more openly looking into projects and degrees to which national museums became true values of representation of nations, their past, present and future. This can be seen most clearly in the number of high-profile museums and galleries that have opened or are scheduled to open their doors to the public in the coming years. 

Norway’s new National Museum, initially scheduled for opening in 2020, has finally debuted in 2022 with the official name of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Boasting more than 54,000 square meters, including 13,000 square meters of exhibition space, the expansion cost $723 million. Poland’s largest, Nation Museum of History is planned for 2023 and yet to become of the largest projects of this type in CEE region. The project designed by WWAA architects and famous Boris Kudliczka will include an exhibition highlighting 6 eras of Polish history. The project is being progressed by the National Ministry of Culture and the tender process to appoint a design team to deliver the project is due in coming weeks. At an estimated budget of $1 billion, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) is considered the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization. The superlatives don’t end there: It’s also the largest museum in Egypt, the largest Pharaonic Museum in the world, and one of the world’s leading scientific, historical, and archaeological study centres. After the long-awaited reveal of Hong Kong’s M+ museum, comes the neighbouring Palace Museum, devoted to China’s imperial treasures on loan from the Forbidden City in Beijing. The $450m capital project is fully funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History is being progressed by the National Museum of Ireland, in partnership with the OPW, and the tender process to appoint a design team to deliver this next phase of the project will launch in 2023.

Museums can be quite costly to build. These are complex buildings that provide multi-function spaces. For example, a small local museum might cost around $5 million to build, while a large international museum could cost upwards of $1 billion.

Projects                                                   Costs

Grand Egyptian Museum – USD 1 billion

Norway National Museum – USD 723 million

Hong Kong Palace Museum – USD 450 million

Poland National History Museum – USD 270 million

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