When legendary architect I.M.Pei added the glass pyramids at the Louvre Museum in Paris in 1989, he envisioned it to be a controversial intervention that will put Paris back as the global epicenter of modern art and culture for a long time. Today, at the age of 100, Pei is witnessing the immense popularity of his architecture that has since captivated millions of visitors around the world.

Museums are iconic landmarks. They are technically an archival repository for objects and discoveries of cultural and historical importance. It has been their role for centuries to preserve, safeguard, research and present the valued items to the public for the purpose of education, awareness and viewing pleasure.

The contribution, which museums make to tourism, especially in cultural heritage tourism, has been significant. A study on this billion-dollar tourism sector in the UK shows that eight out of 10 UK visitor attractions are museums and galleries. The importance of museums is also recognised through its social, economic, educational and cultural impacts.

It’s little wonder then that top architects around the world are being roped in to design museums in major cities. Unbeknownst to many, design elites have been silently competing to leave a legacy through these impressive structures.

As you plan your year-end vacation, spare some time to check out at least one museum in the city; whether it is the colossal Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or the British Museum in London. And if you’ve done pretty much everything from The Louvre to National Museum of Singapore, check out these new noteworthy museums you have to visit in 2018.

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Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art and civilisation museum; a partnership with the Louvre in Paris. Thousands gathered on the first day of its opening in November 8, 2017 to witness the unveiling of 23 galleries and over 300 pieces of artworks from the Louvre and other French museums. (Credit: AFP/Karim Sahib via Getty Images)

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Visitors tour the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum during the opening ceremony on November 11, 2017 on Saadiyat island in the Emirati capital. (Credit: Getty Images)

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Louvre Abu Dhabi is designed by Pritzer-prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel who has imagined the structure to be an intertwining of repetitive motifs that form an enigmatic ceiling design. (Credit: Louvre Abu Dhabi)

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Louvre Abu Dhabi has been one of the most popular tourist spots since its opening. (Credit: Jean Nouvel)

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Sumida Hokusa Museum

The design of Sumida Hokusa Museum by one of the very few Japanese female architects, Kazuyo Sejima is something that has not been done in Tokyo Japan. The 4-storey, angular structure houses a collection of over 1,800 works by renowned ukiyo-e woodblock painter Katsushika Hokusai, who lived in Sumida over 200 years ago. (Credit: Andia/UIG via Getty Images)

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Snowscape by the Sumida River, c1832 is one of the many astonishing artworks by Hokusai Katsushika (1760-1849). (Credit: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

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V&A Museum

Welcome to the first Victoria and Albert museum beyond London, Scotland’s first ever design museum. The V&A Museum comprises about 300 pieces of items from the 15th century to today. It is scheduled to open in September 2018. (Credit: V&A Museum of Design Dundee)

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The museum is designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Kengo Kuma, who is also the creative mind behind the upcoming 2020 Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Here is a general view of the progress at the Dundee V&A Museum of Design on January 4, 2018 in Dundee, Scotland. (Credit: Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images)

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Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech

Perhaps you would have wondered why the YSL Museum was opened in Marrakech of all places. For decades, Yves Saint Laurent owned a home in the city and enjoyed spending time in Marrakech with close friends and his love affairs. It makes total sense that the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech now sits near his former house, which he bought and restored in the 80s. Inspired by the archives of Saint Laurent, the museum that is dedicated to the life and work of the French fashion icon is designed by French architects, Studio KO. (Credit: Yves Saint Laurent Museum Marrakech)

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The museum exhibits a collection of Moroccan-inspired pieces, along with Saint Laurent’s photos, drawings and other memorabilia. There is also a research library with more than 6,000 books if you are keen to immerse in fashion history. (Credit: Yves Saint Laurent Museum Marrakech)

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Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought the Majorelle Garden in 1980 and restored the maison to its former glory. The fusion of the Moroccan traditions and contemporary flair inspired Yves Saint Laurent during his decades of staying in Morocco. (Credit: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty Images) 

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Yayoi Kusama Museum

Legendary avant-garde artist, Yayoi Kusama is best known for her signature polka dots, dizzying mirror installations and of course, the pumpkin sculptures. After the success of her touring exhibition, “Infinity Mirrors” which was held in Singapore, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Toronto and Cleveland in the last year, Kusama’s fans have been even more thrilled with the recent opening of the Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo. (Credit: Yayoi Kusama)

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At the entrance, Kusama’s aesthetics dot the entire facade in a dizzying yet captivating manner. (Credit: Yayoi Kusama)

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There will be five floors featuring her colourful repetitive paintings, immersive spaces, a reading room and gift shop. Visitors will also be able to witness her latest work, a gold and pink polka-dotted pumpkin on the rooftop of the museum. (Credit: Yayoi Kusama)

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Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN)

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN), is Indonesia’s first modern and contemporary art museum. Art aficionados will be pleased to find notable artworks by Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei, Jeff Koons and Yayoi Kusama in this Jakarta-based museum. (Credit: Museum MACAN)

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Museum MACAN also features the work of prominent Indonesian artists including Raden Saleh, whose works have also been exhibited in National Gallery Singapore earlier this year. (Credit: Museum MACAN)

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MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum

Don’t let the reflective stripes on the façade of the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum fool you; it is the creative works of Thai architects, all(zone). The ultra contemporary design has given this thriving art and cultural centre global attention when it first opened in October 2016. (Credit: Soopakorn Srisakul for MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum)

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The facade is simply a reflective shield that creates the interaction between building and nature. (Credit: Soopakorn Srisakul for MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum)

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Located in the city of Chiangmai, the museum houses an important private collection of Thai and regional art. (Credit: Soopakorn Srisakul for MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum)

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“To present the collection, an old warehouse was dramatically transformed into a dynamic space that provides a well-facilitated platform for a wide range of activities.  While the industrial spirit of the warehouse has been maintained, light wells that brighten and illuminate the interior space have been created with the use of local materials,” – all(zone)

Martin Teo
Content Editor
Martin loves traveling the world to see ancient ruins and classical architecture. He enjoys the culinary experience of various cities but (still) refuses to eat anything insect-like. On a daily basis, he finds time hitting the gym to compensate for the amount of food he needs to eat just to write an article.