10 New North American Museums You Have to See

This past year has brought some fantastic new museums in North America, with new additions in major cities from Toronto, Canada to Sarasota, Florida.

Learn all about the history of pianos, check out some of the coolest glass art in the world, get in the mind of comedy's greatest, and even learn all about Icelandic culture with these 10 new, exciting, and extremely educational museums around North America!

  1. Nordic Heritage Museum - Seattle 

    This museum covers Scandinavian immigration, culture, art & history, exhibiting various art and objects, preserving collections, providing educational and cultural experiences, and serving as a community gathering place. There are 5 countries honored within the museum; Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. You can see artifacts from each of these 5 countries within the museum's permanent exhibit, Nordic Journeys, some examples of things you will be seeing including Viking-era swords and stones and various religious artifacts from over 4,000 years ago. There are also several rotating exhibits regularly at the museum.


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  2. Imagine Museum - St. Petersburg 

    This unique art museum is located on Central Avenue, just blocks away from the similar Morean Arts Center. Several preeminent works from the American Studio Glass Movement are featured inside, as well as an impressive selection of glass sculptures from around the world. All in all, there are always around 500 pieces displayed from the 1500 piece total collection owned by Imagine Museum. The pieces are dramatically displayed within the 48,000 square foot gallery, providing an unforgettable art experience.


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  3. MOCA Toronto - Toronto 

    MOCA Toronto is known as a 'welcoming place where artists and their work will pose provocative questions', a place where there is an actual exchange between the arts, artists, and visitors. Your group can enjoy a guided visit, studio activity, or self-guided visit – with any option your students will be both challenged and inspired. Within the museum, your group will see a selection of ever-changing exhibits, with examples such as the current (2019) Scaffold and Horizons by Adrian Blackwell and The Life of a Dead Tree by Mark Dion. The latter exhibit will put on display everything from beetles to liverworts, fungi to bug galleries during its 2-month exhibit "dissection" meant to call attention to for Ontario’s natural ecosystems.


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  4. Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion - Sarasota 

    Be sure to save plenty of time to explore the brand new Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion at the Ringling, the 5,500 square foot glass museum that shows off 68 works of modern and contemporary glass art from 5 different continents. The works displayed range in creation from the 1940s until today and work to show the advancements in the medium and techniques over time, from cast to blown glass tubes to slumped glass. This new collection helps highlight the strength, diversity, and quality of The Ringling’s collection.


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  5. Minnesota Museum of American Art - St. Paul 

    The Minnesota Museum of American Art, or more simply, The M, showcases the unique voices of American artists from the 19th century until today. Located inside the historic Pioneer Endicott in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, The M is a must-visit for art-lovers. Check out exhibits such as 100 Years and Counting, recognizing remarkable American art through the past century from pastel drawings to sculptures, We The People, dissecting what it means to be a person in our current society, and Saint Paul Murals Project, a visual ode to the Hmong Diaspora sitting on 4th Street.


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  6. Carolina Music Museum - Greenville 

    Housed in the historic Coca-Cola Bottling Company building in Greenville, South Carolina, the Carolina Music Museum is making quite a name for itself in the museum world. This museum aims to give guests a 'total musical immersion experience', providing the opportunity for art, science, and music to intermix into one. Inside the museum, you will find the world-famous Carolina Clavier Collection, with over 40 English, European, and American pianos and harpsichords dating 1570 to 1845. There are also other 'culturally-important' instruments displayed, as well as regular events and performances.


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  7. National Veterans Memorial and Museum - Columbus 

    The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is the first and only museum created to honor veterans of all ages and their experiences, not the war in which they served. The museum will take you on a narrative journey of both individual and shared experiences of veterans through history, covering 14 different 'Thematic Alcoves' inside such as Service and Citizenship and Legacy of Service. All in all, the NVMM serves as 'a living tribute to over 40 million Americans who have served this nation since its founding.' The building itself is visually stunning, an iconic concrete arch structure containing a total of 28 million pounds of concrete, the building a symbol of our nation’s veterans and how their strength emanates from within.


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  8. South Carolina Historical Society - Charleston 

    Welcome to the South Carolina Historical Society, or SCHS for short. This museum features interactive exhibits on the people, places, and movements that shaped the state of South Carolina and the nation in general and has earned itself the title of 'one of the 15 most noteworthy museums opening this year' (Archetectural Digest 2018). The building is an architectural treasure in its own right, a National Historic Landmark featuring Palladian architectural style with noteworthy Doric porticos. There are several exhibits inside that 'pair personal manuscripts, maps, and artifacts with innovative technology'.


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  9. Museum at the Gateway Arch - St. LouisThe newly redesigned Museum at the Gateway Arch is located directly under the arch and tells the story of St. Louis' role in the famous Westward Expansion. There are 6 galleries inside, including Colonial St. Louis, New Frontiers, and Manifest Destiny.  “The six galleries represent 200 years of American history, which has been expanded by 100 years from the previous museum.” The museum's ultimate goal is to allow guests to interact with the museum, not just see it. The museum is a part of the Gateway Arch National Park, which also includes the Old Courthouse, park grounds, and Gateway Arch itself.


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  10.  National Comedy Center - Jamestown

    Enjoy over 50 'deeply funny exhibits' here at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York. This is the first and only museum dedicated to telling the story of comedy in America, dedicated as the nation's official cultural institution dedicated to the art of comedy. Explore the stories of the greatest minds in comedy, from Chaplin to Chapelle. Get behind the scenes looks, learn the history of the art form, and check out the latest viral acts while here. You can even step into the shoes of comedy pros and try your hand at cartooning, comedy writing, live stand-up, and faux pie fights.


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