How To Unlock And Upgrade The Museum In Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Here's what you need to get the museum built on your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Like in previous Animal Crossing games, collecting every type of fossil, bug, and fish is a huge part of the gameplay in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, so having a place to show off your collection is important. You'll need to unlock the museum in order to do this, as it's where you'll donate your specimens if you don't want to sell, gift, or keep them. Curator Blathers is responsible for the museum, and you'll be able to donate items directly to him. You'll need to unlock the museum as you work toward getting your first shovel.
As of the April 23 update, you can also upgrade the museum. This upgrade introduces an art wing where you can showcase any (legitimate) art you've bought from Jolly Redd. We detail how to unlock this museum upgrade below.
Below we detail the step-by-step process of building and then upgrading the museum on your island. For more tips, be sure to check out our Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide hub and money-making guide. Otherwise, be sure to read our review.
How To Unlock The Museum
From day one you can start the process of unlocking the museum. On your first day on the island, after the tutorial section, Tom Nook will accept five different fish or bugs. He is gathering these in the hopes that the native flora and fauna on the island will be enough to entice Blathers to move to the island. It works, of course--after handing in the fifth specimen, Blathers will ring Tom Nook and agree to arrive on the island the next day.
Tom Nook will then give you a camping tent to lay down for Blathers and the future site of the museum. This will be the spot where the museum will eventually be built, so make sure to pick somewhere you like, as it will be a while until you unlock the ability to move buildings around.
Once Blathers arrives on the second day, he'll take donations of bugs, fish, and fossils (though he needs to assess the fossils first). As referenced above, he also gives you DIY recipes for the shovel and vaulting pole, which will help you dig up fossils and access more of your island.
To get him out of a tent and into a real building, you'll need to donate an additional 15 bugs and/or fish. Don't worry about the specimens you have handed over, as all 20 of them will be in the museum once it opens and will count towards your collections.
On the third day, if you managed to hand in all the specimens on both days, the museum will be under construction. We recommend holding on to any bugs, fish, and fossils you find on this day so you can donate them when the museum opens the following day. Once the museum is complete (on the fourth day, if you've been fast-tracking this process), Blathers will accept multiple donations at once.
How To Upgrade The Museum
Once you've downloaded the April 23 update, you'll be able to upgrade the museum to add an art wing. According to twitter user @_Ninji, who has been datamining the game, you first need to have donated 60 items (fish, bugs, and/or fossils) to the museum before you can unlock the art wing. As long as you're catching the seasonal bugs and fish and collecting four fossils per day, you should be able to reach 60 donations in a few weeks.
Once you've reached 60 donations, Blathers will let you know that he's thinking of accepting art donations and will ask you to show him the first piece of art you get. (This will happen automatically when you talk to Blathers once you've met the donation requirement; you don't need to count or keep track yourself.) Jolly Redd will show up on your island the next day and sell you a genuine piece of art--see our full guide to Redd's art for more details. Once you donate your first piece of art to Blathers, the museum will upgrade. It will close for construction the next day, and the day after that, it will open with the brand-new art wing!
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