The Museum of London is moving from its present home on London Wall to Smithfield Market near the Barbican.
Six shortlisted designs have been released showing how three derelict market buildings – and the museum – could be transformed by 2021.
A new showcase of the designs opens on Friday (June 10) allowing the public to view the proposals and find out more about the move.
The winner will be chosen later this year with a planning application going to the City of London Corporation in 2017.
The museum has six million objects in its collection and, together with the Museum of London Docklands in West India Quay, has enjoyed one of its most successful years ever.
However its present space is forbidding, has no street level entrance and cramped and director Sharon Ament wants to bring two million visitors to the new site.
She said recently: “This area is full of people round the clock, from the commuters by day, the market from midnight, the clubs like Fabric which stay open till dawn. How do we engage with all of them?
“Should the museum also stay at least partly open round the clock? Could we have a gin distillery? Should we bring back the sausage shop? How many more people can we get in? How much more should we do?
"Can we get everything out of the stores? We have 10,000 shoes in the collection – can we get every single one of them on display, a complete history of London in footwear?”