Our World’s Best Museums

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Journeys that spark the imagination can lead to revolutions in creativity. In 1966 a young Yves Saint Laurent discovered the beauty and colors of Marrakech, and became so enamored of the city that he made it his second home. Now, a half century later, the French designer’s Moroccan residence is showcasing his eclectic sensibility, with couture sketches, fabric swatches, and interiors inspired by the city’s vivid palette. The Yves Saint Laurent Museum is one of several museums to debut in 2017. Each suggests that exhibits of the future will be as much about the experience of an object as about the object itself, pushing museums to expand in size and re-envision displays to engage, educate, and inspire visitors. Here are 15 genre-shifting museums, from Seattle to South Africa, that are receiving attention for their daring designs and interactive offerings.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND

Download design history at the Design Museum; the “Designer Maker User” exhibit displays hundreds of items spanning various disciplines, from fashion to architecture, Vespas to robots.

HOLON, ISRAEL

The exuberance of Israel’s Design Museum Holon starts with its exterior of looping curves and continues with works by international and Israeli designers.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL

The Museum of Tomorrow, in Rio de Janeiro, inspires visitors to conjure a bright future through a largely digital experience that looks at philosophical ideas and questions—where we come from, where we’re headed—rooted in science.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

In Seoul the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plazacelebrates such luminaries as Louis Vuitton and delves into Korea’s own influence on international design.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Opened in Washington, D.C., in 2016, the bold National Museum of African American History and Culture is the largest museum dedicated to the story of African Americans, from slavery to the Obama presidency and beyond.

BORDEAUX, FRANCE

Cheers to wine and bold design at Bordeaux’s Cité du Vin. The cultural center, all fluid curves, is a multisensory playground with 19 themed spaces, topped by a belvedere with sweeping views.

VALENCIA, SPAIN

Curiosity is what the new Science Museum in Valencia, Spain, aims to instill as it explores the intersection of science, technology, and life; experiments included.

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