News item from 2009

Royal Visit 1

Her Majesty The Queen officially opens the new Ashmolean Museum

On Wednesday, 2 December 2009, Her Majesty The Queen officially opened the new Ashmolean Museum.
The Ashmolean re-opened to the public on 7 November, following a major multi-million pound redevelopment. The new building, designed by award-winning Rick Mather Architects, has been universally acclaimed by both the international media and members of the public. On its opening weekend it attracted 22,000 visitors and is currently averaging 6,000 visitors a day.

The £61 million project has been funded with a £15 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Additional major support has been received from the Linbury Trust, along with numerous trusts, foundations and individuals.

Christopher Brown, Director of the Ashmolean, said, “We were delighted to show Her Majesty the new galleries and introduce her to our supporters who have made this remarkable redevelopment possible, and to the staff, contractors, designers and architects who have helped to build the new Museum. Her Majesty’s visit was a great honour for us and a historical moment for Oxford. It not only marks the success of the transformed Ashmolean, Britain’s first public Museum, but it celebrates the opening of our new doors to the widest audience, now and in the future”.

As a department of the University of Oxford, education lies at the heart of the Ashmolean. Its purpose is to serve as a resource for scholars and to awaken a lively interest in material culture from across the globe in visitors of all backgrounds and ages.

Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said, “On 18 November, the University’s museums, libraries and archives were awarded The Queen's Anniversary Prize in recognition of their outstanding quality and their high public benefit. The Ashmolean’s official opening is a tribute to the integral role these world-class collections have in supporting teaching and research, and in providing great museums and educational resources, free to all visitors.”

The new Museum provides the Ashmolean with 100% more display space. It comprises 39 new galleries, including 4 temporary exhibition galleries, a new education centre, state-of-the-art conservation studios, and Oxford’s first rooftop restaurant.

Inside the new galleries, the Ashmolean presents a redisplay of the collections. The Museum’s curators have worked with leading specialist design company Metaphor to create the innovative strategy Crossing Cultures Crossing Time, enabling visitors to discover how civilisations developed as part of an interrelated world culture. The objects’ stories are told by tracing the journey of ideas and influences through time and across continents, transforming the way the Ashmolean’s rare and beautiful objects are understood.

The event will be covered by the Royal Rota.

The Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 28,800 projects, allocating over £4.3billion across the UK.

Oxford Thinking: The Campaign for the University of Oxford

The Ashmolean Museum is one of a number of major building projects that form "Oxford Thinking: The Campaign for the University of Oxford", along with the other major themes of support for students and support for academic posts and programmes. The Campaign was launched in May 2008 with a minimum goal of £1.25 billion and is the largest fundraising Campaign in European university history. The current Campaign total is £770 million.


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