By Leslie Camhi Peter Webster and Raul Barreneche
October 10, 2013

Thanks to dramatic transformations, these five world-class museums are casting a whole new light on their collections.

Amsterdam: After a 10-year renovation, a grand atrium now greets visitors to the Rijksmuseum (pictured). More than 8,000 objects, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals, have been rearranged as a historical survey. —Raul Barreneche

Honolulu: The extraordinary story of how Pacific Islanders developed their diverse cultures is told—with canoes, costumes, musical instruments, and more—in the renovated Pacific Hall, debuting this month at the Bishop Museum. —Peter Webster

New York City: Housed in a pavilion built for the 1939 World’s Fair, the Queens Museum reopens in November at twice its original size. One of the first shows, “The People’s UN,” nods to the building’s former role as host to the General Assembly.—Peter Webster

Mexico City: The Museo Jumex, displaying artists both Mexican (Gabriel Orozco; Carlos Amorales) and global (Olafur Eliasson; Tacita Dean), expands into David Chipperfield’s sawtooth-roofed building in November. —Raul Barreneche

Cleveland: Come December, the Cleveland Museum of Art will unveil the last of three wings by Rafael Viñoly, showing works that range from Chinese bronzes to Impressionist paintings. —Peter Webster

Plus: Exhibits Worth Traveling For

Tokyo: The latest edition of the Roppongi Crossing triennial at the Mori Art Museum promotes Japan’s vibrant young art scene, revitalized in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. Sept. 21–Jan. 13 —Leslie Camhi

New York City: The Museum of Modern Art surveys the early surrealist career of painter René Magritte—in which he tried, as he once stated, “to make everyday objects shriek aloud.” Sept. 28–Jan. 12. —Leslie Camhi

Fort Worth, Texas: Fifty years after the JFK assassination, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art shows works (Picasso; van Gogh; Eakins) installed in the first couple’s hotel suite on the eve of the tragic day. Oct. 12–Jan. 12. —Leslie Camhi

London: “Australia,” at the Royal Academy of Arts, examines two centuries of artists down under and their relationship to the country’s monumental, mysterious landscape. Sept. 21–Dec. 8. —Leslie Camhi

Washington, D.C.: “Heaven and Earth,” at the National Gallery of Art, displays glittering mosaics, illustrated manuscripts, and other rare treasures that shed light on the 1,000-year Byzantine empire. Oct. 6–Mar. 2. —Leslie Camhi