Museum Moves 1 – 7 December 2023

The weekly feature rounds up the latest updates in museum appointments, openings, funding and new exhibitions from across the UK.

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Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence has been appointed as the next Chair of Trustees of the Science Museum Group, beginning a four-year term on 1 January 2024.He will succeed Dame Mary Archer as Chair of Trustees, when she stands down at the end of 2023 having served two terms.


Plans for the £4.5 million redevelopment of Vestry House Museum have moved forward, as Waltham Forest Council announces the appointment of an architecture firm to lead on the project.The project is supported by the council’s Levelling Up Fund programme, and will see work begin in early 2024 with a planned reopening date set for early 2026.

Norwich Castle’s medieval Grade I-listed Keep will reopen in summer 2024 after multi-million pound redevelopment. Construction of the castle was begun by William the Conqueror and completed by his son Henry I in 1121. Now, the original medieval floors and room spaces are being reinstated and fully furnished, and as part of the redevelopment there also be an new permanent Gallery of Medieval Life, created in partnership with the British Museum.


Tate Modern has announced a major solo exhibition dedicated to Australian artist Emily Kam Kngwarray. Opening in 2025 and organised in collaboration with the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), it will be the first large-scale presentation of the indigenous painter’s work held in Europe. . The exhibition will bring together key examples of batik textiles, paintings and works on paper from across the 1970s, 80s and 90s, many of which have never been shown outside Australia.

A new exhibition funded by a National Lottery Grant will explore the life and work of musician, songwriter and artist Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Liverpool arts organisations Homotopia and DuoVision have announced. ‘The Power of Holly’ will explore Johnson’s personal archive, alongside work with Merseyside based LGBTQIA+ sexual health and wellness charity Sahir House to capture the stories of local LGBTQIA+ people in community workshops and oral history sessions over the next year. The research will conclude with an exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of the band. National Museums Liverpool will support the research and development of the exhibition.

Next year, Yorkshire Sculpture Park will present the first UK museum show by Leilah Babirye. The artist’s exhibition Obumu (Unity) will feature new sculptures made at YSP specifically for this exhibition, largely from materials found onsite. Babirye spent the summer of 2023 at YSP making a clan of seven larger-than-life-size figures in wood and five coloured ceramics. Supported by its onsite technical team and artists, seven sculptures were carved using a chainsaw and chisels from a 200-year-old fallen beech tree at the Park. Runs 29 March – 8 September 2024.

The first exhibition at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery next year will explore a history of print from Exeter’s fine art collection. A multifaceted selection of forty-five works on paper and print matrices will lead audiences on a journey from 16th-century woodcuts to the creations of the 21st century. ‘Pressing Images: prints from Exeter’s fine art collection’ will uncover the roots of printmaking in early modern Europe.

Sir John Soane’s Museum begins its 2024 programme with the winners of The Architecture Drawing Prize, now in its 7th year. The winning and shortlisted drawings will be exhibited from 31 January – 3 March 2024. The Overall Winner of The Architecture Drawing Prize will be announced ahead of the exhibition as part of a webinar hosted by Sir John Soane’s Museum on January 29th 2024.

A new exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum will consider William Blake’s position in a “constellation of European artists and writers striving for renewed spirituality in art and life”. The exhibition, William Blake’s Universe, explores the artist’s unexpected links with European figures including German Romantic artists. Together with the largest display of the Fitzwilliam’s collection of Blake’s works, the exhibition features loans by artists including Runge and Friedrich from the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany, which will be seen in the UK for the first time. Runs 23 February – 19 May 2024.