Forgotten Treasures: Revisit these Museums and Art Galleries in 2024

24 Jan 2024

by ArtRabbit

Discover museums and galleries across the UK that are shaking things up with exciting new developments. From ‘Victorian Radicals' to rising young art stars and a fresh look at the Pre-Raphaelites, here are our arts and culture highlights for 2024 in the UK.

Think you remember these stately historic venues? Think again. Scores of museums and art galleries are flinging their doors open this year with exciting building developments and major new programmes. In the past few months, we've seen spectacular relaunches of iconic London museums, including the National Portrait Gallery and Young V&A, and the trend continues across the UK. Read on to rediscover these gems. From Birmingham's 'Victorian Radicals' to a rising young art star at the Wallace Collection and a fresh look at the Pre-Raphaelites, here are our arts and culture highlights for 2024 in the UK.

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham

While the main building of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery remains closed for maintenance, the Gas Hall is set to reopen on 10 February with a landmark exhibition, "Victorian Radicals." This homecoming showcase presents over 160 works by three generations of British artists, designers, and makers who revolutionised the visual arts in the latter half of the 19th century. The exhibition features the Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris and his circle, and the Arts and Crafts movement, all instrumental in transforming the visual arts. Drawn from Birmingham's outstanding collection, "Victorian Radicals" includes vibrant paintings, exquisite drawings, jewellery, glass, textiles, and metalwork, all embodying their radical vision for art and society.

National Portrait Gallery, London

The new National Portrait Gallery is now open. From the Tudors to today, its Collection tells the stories of those who have shaped, and continue to shape, a nation - from global icons to local champions, national treasures to unsung heroes. Alongside the Gallery’s best-loved paintings, you can find more works from its collection of 250,000 photographs and explore 40 refurbished galleries.

The dynamic 2024 exhibitions programme will include The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure from 22 February, and Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron: Portraits to Dream In from 21 March.

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

The Fitzwilliam Museum is set to reopen its main painting galleries (1-5) on 15 March 2024, after a major refurbishment, the first collective opening in four years. The redisplay, encompassing themes like interiors, migration, and portraiture, merges celebrated works with newly rediscovered pieces and recent acquisitions, some exhibited for the first time. Spanning from the 1600s to the present, the exhibition includes artists such as Gwen John and Henri Matisse, alongside contemporaries like Jake Grewal.

Perth Museum, Scotland

Opening on 30 March 2024 after a £27 million redevelopment, the new Perth Museum showcases Perth and Kinross's central role in Scotland's history, featuring the iconic Stone of Destiny. This historical object, returning to Perthshire after over 700 years, is free to view and a highlight of the museum.

The debut exhibition, 'Unicorn', explores Scotland’s national animal through art, science, and culture. Spanning four themed galleries, it reveals the unicorn's historical significance and modern representation, including its role in the LGBTQI+ community, showcased through interactive displays, global loans, and seven new artworks.

The Barber Institute, Birmingham

The Barber Institute's £10 million refurbishment, underway since autumn 2023, is set for a grand reopening this spring. Funded by the University of Birmingham, the project includes extensive upgrades to the Lady Barber Gallery, enhancing the visitor experience with new walls, floors, lighting, and air systems. Visitors can look forward to new exhibitions, including new work from one of the most significant artists of her generation, Claudette Johnson, stunning botanical illustrations from London's V&A, and the aromas of Pre-Raphaelite art. The Barber Institute galleries will delight your senses in 2024.

Wallace Collection, London

Flora Yukhnovich, a rising star in the British art scene, is set to unveil new works at the Wallace Collection. Known for her reinterpretations of Rococo classics, Yukhnovich will be transforming a staircase space at the prestigious London institution with her major new commissions. Drawing inspiration from French Rococo masters such as Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), François Boucher (1703-1770), and Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), Yukhnovich's large-scale paintings oscillate between representation and abstraction. The exhibition is scheduled to run from June to October, with exact dates yet to be announced. Stay updated by following the Wallace Collection on ArtRabbit to receive notifications.

→ More exhibitions and events in London, Berlin, New York, and Los Angeles

For more art and travel inspiration, reviews or guides browse through our features, download the ArtRabbit App for iPhone or Android, or subscribe to one of our city-specific newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.