A new museum could be opening in Marble Arch, as the Amsterdam based Moco Museum (Modern Contemporary Museum) has taken a lease on three floors of an Oxford Street building.

CGI concept – source: planning documents

The Moco Museum is an independent commercial museum specialising in modern and contemporary arts that opened in Amsterdam in 2016 and then in 2021 opened an outlet in Barcelona. It’s now eying up London for its third venue.

The museum is looking to open its three floor venue on Oxford Sreet directly opposite the Marble Arch, with the ground floor being given over to the “modern masters”, with “contemporary masters” and a temporary exhibition space on the first floor. The basement, appropriately for a space without any windows, will be for digital artists.

Their planning documents say that the two venues combined received around £1.4 million visitors a year, most of whom are aged 18-45 and are new to visiting a museum. Assuming they follow the same business model as at their other venues, then this will be a museum you pay to visit, although they seem to offer off-peak discounts and special offers for schools.

That does raise the question as to why people are willing to pay to visit a venue like this, but won’t visit free museums such as Tate Modern. There’s often been a feeling that museums can be daunting for the newbie to visit, and that they are places that “other people” go to. Museums are getting better at opening up to younger visitors, but candidly those adult nights and the like are somewhat preaching to the converted.

I am sure when it opens, a lot of museum managers will be loitering around trying to work out how to attract these visitors to their own venues as well. If a visit to the Moco Museum acts as a gateway to visiting more museums, then what’s not to like?

At the moment, the building they want to use is restricted for retail use only, so they’re applying for planning permission to change the use from Class E (retail) to Class F (learning and art).

The local business development organisation is supporting the application, seeing it as adding to a growing cultural quarter in the Marble Arch area alongside the Wallace Collection and Frameless.


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  1. Jonathan says:

    Seems like a very good idea-not only culturally speaking-you can never enough museums etc-but also, given the increasing number of empty retail units across London and the wider UK, a chance to reduce the number of empty shop units.

  2. Chris Rogers says:

    Plenty of people visiting tate modern 3rd most visited free attraction in London. Whether its the same ones/ not going to other places…

  3. Daniel says:

    I went to their one in Amsterdam and hated it; it was small, expensive to get in and full of people more interested in being photographed with the art than looking at it. Though I did agree that they succeeded in their mission – “make art accessible to everyone” in so far as the point was that you get to see a variety of famous artists’ work in one place.

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