Museums to plan a trip around in 2022

Museums, and museum attendance, took a big hit during the height of the pandemic, with shutdowns, exhibition cancelations, and delayed openings. But many museums are back on track for 2022 with major exhibitions and some museums opening their doors for the first time.

Here are a few that might warrant a special trip.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

The world premiere of the Harry Potter: The Exhibition opens at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute science museum on February 18, 2022. 

The exhibit celebrates many of the iconic moments, characters, settings, and magical beasts that fans are familiar with from the films and stories of Harry Potter and the Wizarding World. Visitors are promised a close-up look at authentic props and original costumes from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films and the opportunity to experience innovative, magical environments and installations.

Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Merritt Island, Florida opens a new attraction in March, Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, focusing on the present and future of collaborative space exploration.

Exhibits include a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, the Orion Crew Vehicle from EFT-1 Mission, a full-scale replica of Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser, interactive exhibits, and more. Among the many activities in the building, visitors will be able to experience a 4D flying theater with four different journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet, or Uncharted Worlds.

Into the Deep

A new deep-sea exhibition opens at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in April 2022.

Into the Deep will feature the largest display of deep-sea life in North America, everything from football-sized giant isopods and bone-eating worms to bloody belly comb jellies, sea angels, snailfish, and more.

courtesy Olson Kundig

The Bob Dylan Center

The Bob Dylan Center will open in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s downtown arts district on May 5, 2022, and is dedicated to the life, work, and worldwide cultural significances of the iconic folk-rock singer and songwriter, visual artist, and Nobel prize winner. Exhibits will draw from a collection of more than 100,000 items spanning Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, films, photographs, artwork, memorabilia, personal documents, and effects. Fans will also be able to hear some unreleased studio and concert recordings.

Bonus: Tulsa is also home to the Woody Guthrie Center and Leon Russell’s Church Studio.

Courtesy Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Spock’s Ears

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which includes locations in Washington, DC and in Chantilly, VA will be opening 23 new and redesigned galleries and spaces during 2022.

Opening dates will vary, but the Kenneth C. Griffin Exploring the Planets Gallery (scheduled opening: fall 2022) will feature at least one, out-of-this-world, newly acquired treasure.

The family of the late Leonard Nimoy has donated a set of prosthetic ears made for the actor who played Mr. Spock in the original Star Wars television series.

Bonus: the museum’s collection also includes the original 11-foot studio model of the starship Enterprise that appeared in each episode of the original series.

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