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National Comedy Center named Best New Museum

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Winning museum was also named one of the nation's best new attractions

Each year brings a slew of new collections (or new facilities for old collections) for museum lovers. These museums, ranging from avant-garde art galleries to colorful children’s museums, represent the best openings of the past two years.

  • National Comedy Center

    National Comedy Center
    Jamestown, N.Y.

    Situated in Jamestown, N.Y., the National Comedy Center is the first museum in the world dedicated to the art of comedy in the United States. More than 50 interactive exhibits and an extensive collection bring to life the voices of comedy greats, from Charlie Chaplin to Dave Chappelle.
    Photo courtesy of National Comedy Center

  • Cook Museum of Natural Science

    Cook Museum of Natural Science
    Decatur, Ala.

    The Cook Museum opened in 2019 as a state-of-the-art natural science museum in downtown Decatur. Inside, visitors will find a 15,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, a recreated Alabama cave, an indoor forest with its own treetop cabin and interactive exhibits focused on topics like the Arctic and desert environments, waterways, insects, space and geology.
    Photo courtesy of Cook Museum of Natural Science

  • Carolina Music Museum

    Carolina Music Museum
    Greenville, S.C.

    The Carolina Music Museum debuted in spring 2018 as one of the largest major music collections in the southeastern United States. Highlights of the collection include more than 40 English, European and American pianos (some dating back to 1570) and a newly acquired collection from the late Marlowe Sigal.
    Photo courtesy of Carolina Music Museum

  • National Veterans Memorial and Museum

    National Veterans Memorial and Museum
    Columbus, Ohio

    This new memorial and museum opened in 2018 to celebrate our nation’s Veterans, past and present. The museum tells the story of the men and women (and their families) who’ve served throughout our nation’s history through personal artifacts, letters, imagery and vintage film. The inspiring Legacy of Service exhibit showcases how Veterans are using their experiences to better their communities.
    Photo courtesy of National Veterans Memorial and Museum

  • National Nordic Museum

    National Nordic Museum
    Seattle

    Originally founded in 1980, the National Nordic Museum in Seattle recently debuted its brand new facility in the Ballard neighborhood. This new exhibit space tells the 12,000-year story of Nordic history and culture across the nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The building itself was designed with Nordic details and materials and features a central Fjord Hall that narrows as visitors go deeper into the museum.
    Photo courtesy of National Nordic Museum

  • Mascot Hall of Fame

    Mascot Hall of Fame
    Whiting, Ind.

    2019 saw the opening of the Mascot Hall of Fame in Indiana, a new museum “celebrating the unsung heroes of sports and communities.” This kid-friendly space includes a t-shirt shooter, sports court and interactive playground area, hands-on Science of Silliness Lab and a Build-A-Mascot Workshop from Build-A-Bear.
    Photo courtesy of Mascot Hall of Fame

  • Louisiana Children's Museum

    Louisiana Children's Museum
    New Orleans

    The Louisiana Children’s Museum opened its brand new facility in 2019, with 8.5 acres and two floors of exhibits for kids to explore. Exhibits cover topics in literacy, the environment, STEM, arts & culture and health & wellness.
    Photo courtesy of Louisiana Children's Museum

  • Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU

    Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
    Richmond

    The new Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University highlights every medium through a changing lineup of exhibitions, live performances and film screenings. Even the building itself is a work of art, designed by Steven Holl Architects with a titanium-zinc and etched-glass exterior.
    Photo courtesy of Iwan Baan / Institute for Contemporary Art

  • Royal Alberta Museum

    Royal Alberta Museum
    Edmonton, Alberta

    The Royal Alberta Museum moved into its brand new facility in downtown Edmonton in 2018. This 419,000-square-foot complex provides a new space to display portions of the vast collection covering topics like Canadian history, indigenous studies, archaeology, biology, botany, geology and paleontology.
    Photo courtesy of Royal Alberta Museum

  • Bell Museum

    Bell Museum
    St. Paul

    Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium opened in its new home on the University of Minnesota campus in St. Paul in 2018. The museum’s popular wildlife dioramas return, alongside new high-tech exhibits, an outdoor learning area and a digital planetarium projector.
    Photo courtesy of The Bell Museum and University of Minnesota

  • National Comedy Center
  • Cook Museum of Natural Science
  • Carolina Music Museum
  • National Veterans Memorial and Museum
  • National Nordic Museum
  • Mascot Hall of Fame
  • Louisiana Children's Museum
  • Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU
  • Royal Alberta Museum
  • Bell Museum

The top 10 winners in the category Best New Museum are as follows:

  1. National Comedy Center - Jamestown, N.Y.
  2. Cook Museum of Natural Science - Decatur, Ala.
  3. Carolina Music Museum - Greenville, S.C.
  4. National Veterans Memorial and Museum - Columbus, Ohio
  5. National Nordic Museum - Seattle
  6. Mascot Hall of Fame - Whiting, Ind.
  7. Louisiana Children's Museum - New Orleans
  8. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU - Richmond
  9. Royal Alberta Museum - Edmonton, Alberta
  10. Bell Museum - St. Paul

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning museums!

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Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono

Ilene Jacobs

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Ilene Jacobs

Corinne Whiting

Corinne Whiting

Corinne Whiting

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