World leading museum to re-open following £61million redesign
One of the world’s leading museums, the Ashmolean in Oxford, will reopen in November 2009 following a major £61 million redevelopment, funded with a £15 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Additional major support has been given by the Linbury Trust, along with numerous trusts, foundations and individuals.
The award-winning architect Rick Mather has designed a new building to provide the Ashmolean with almost 100% more display space. Located to the north of Charles Cockerell’s original Museum built in 1845, it will comprise 39 new galleries, including 4 new temporary exhibition galleries, a new education centre, conservation studios, a walkthrough to the museum and the Cast Gallery, and Oxford’s first rooftop café.
An innovative approach to displaying the collections, Crossing Cultures Crossing Time, will transform the way the Ashmolean’s rare and beautiful objects are understood by visitors. Each object’s story will be told by tracing the journey of ideas and influences through time and across continents, enabling visitors to discover how civilisations developed as part of an interrelated world culture.
Founded in 1683 by the University of Oxford, the Ashmolean is the most important museum of art and archaeology in the heart of Britain. The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of mankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world’s largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the greatest Anglo-Saxon collections beyond the British Museum, and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.