Breaking New Ground

Seven of America’s top new museums and monuments

Architecture National Other
America's top new museums and monuments. (Courtesy Darren Bradley)
America's top new museums and monuments. (Courtesy Darren Bradley)

Last year saw one of the biggest and most publicized mueum openings in recent memory: the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). While it obviously made the cut on our list of top new museums and monuments, highlighted below are a few other opened or soon-to-be-open buildings and memorial that honor our country’s history and cultural heritage.

Höweler+Yoon debuts memorial for slaves that helped build The University of Virginia. (Courtesy Höweler+Yoon)

Memorial for slaves that helped build the University of Virginia 

memorial honoring the estimated 5,000 enslaved people who helped build the University of Virginia (UVA) will be built on the university’s grounds. Designed by Boston-based architects Höweler+Yoon, along with Mabel O. Wilson, Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, and Dr. Frank Dukes, the granite, circular memorial will reference The Rotunda at UVA, which was planned by Thomas Jefferson two centuries ago. “The Memorial is a facet of the University’s commemorative project that involves many people and initiatives, we envision this memorial to embody the ideals of the University which, as Jefferson defined to be, ‘to follow truth wherever it may lead,’” said Meejin Yoon of Höweler+Yoon in a press release.



View over liberty island. (Courtesy FXFowle)

FXFowle designs new Statue of Liberty Museum 

Visitors looking to get up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty will soon get a chance to do so when New York–based FXFowle’s new museum opens in 2019. The 26,000-square-foot building is designed to accommodate the rush of tourists from the ferries, which bring over 4.3 million people a year. Inside, the statue’s original torch will be displayed and 15,000 square feet of space will be dedicated to showcasing the monument’s history, legacy, and construction details. “The museum’s defining gesture is the lifting of the park itself, extending vistas rather than ending them, and creating a new, naturalized habitat in place of a traditional building,” said FXFowle on its website.

(Courtesy Darren Bradley)

National Museum of African American History and Culture opens in Washington, D.C. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which opened recently in September 2016, is the latest addition to the monumental architecture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The tiered structure, designed by David Adjaye and lead architect Philip Freelon, together with Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup, is clad in 3,600 bronze-painted aluminum panels and inspired by Yoruban art from West Africa, a region where many slaves were taken into bondage.

Jackie Robinson Museum finally starts construction after a decade-long wait.
(Courtesy the Jackie Robinson Foundation)

After a decade, the Jackie Robinson Museum finally begins construction

A museum that has been a long time coming (it was originally slated to open in 2009), the Jackie Robinson Museum by Gensler’s New York office will open in 2019. Honoring the Brooklyn Dodgers legend, the 18,500-square-foot museum will showcase Robinson’s achievements from 1919 to present, including his participation in the civil rights movement. “The Jackie Robinson Museum is an opportunity to bring an important cultural landmark to NYC—one that challenges visitors to think about the history of social and cultural change and tolerance,” according to Joseph Plumeri, chairman of the Jackie Robinson Foundation National Legacy Campaign.

Dallas Holocaust Museum inches toward construction. (Courtesy Omniplan Architects)

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum one step closer to reality 

A proposed new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum could be made into reality if the final portion of its $61 million budget is fulfilled. Currently, over two-thirds of the funding is secured for the 50,000-square-foot, Omniplan Architects–designed building, which will honor the victims of the Holocaust while extending the dialogue of human rights in modern America. “We need a place that allows us to have a discussion about what human rights, diversity, and respect for others mean for our city today,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings during the announcement of the capital campaign. AIA Dallas awarded the building an Unbuilt Design Award in 2015.

United States Marshals Museum moves closer to construction. (Courtesy Cambridge Seven Associates)

United States Marshal Museum construction faces fundraising challenges 

While the proposed United States Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is still in the funding stage, its set opening date is September 24, 2019, to coincide with the 230th anniversary of the U.S Marshals Service. The star-shaped design is reflective of the badges worn by marshals in earlier years, and the building’s location overlooking the Arkansas River is a nod to history: the river used to serve as the U.S.’s border when the service was founded in 1789. The estimated cost of the project is $35.9 million, but the agency’s low profile has been posing problems for the fundraising campaign.

Memorial to Peace and Justice

(Courtesy Equal Justice Initiative)

Memorial to Peace and Justice honors victims of lynching 

A museum and memorial to victims of lynching is set to open sometime this year in Montgomery, Alabama. Founded by nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and designed by Boston-based MASS Design Group, the Memorial to Peace and Justice resembles a gallows, including hundreds of hanging stone slabs with the names of lynching victims inscribed in them. Between 1877 and 1950, there were more than 4,000 victims of lynching, according to EJI. The accompanying museum will focus on both the history of slavery as well as contemporary issues related to racial inequality.

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