The Ashmolean Museum Broadway – a new independent Museum
The Ashmolean Museum Broadway
The Ashmolean has worked in close partnership with Worcestershire County Council, other local organisations, and the Keil family, to transform a historic building in the Cotswold village of Broadway, Worcestershire, into the Ashmolean Museum Broadway.
The opportunity to work with Worcestershire County Council and other local stakeholders in order to transform the 17th century former coaching inn known as ‘Tudor House’ in the Cotswold village of Broadway into a new Museum – The Ashmolean Museum Broadway - came about thanks to Mr John Keil and his family. The Keil family owns ‘Tudor House’ and, since the 1930s, had based their world famous antiques business there. The business ceased operating in Broadway in 2008 and Mr Keil was eager to see the property gain a relevant new use and contribute to the local community in Broadway. And so he generously gave the Grade II* building on a free 50 year lease in order for it to be set up as an independent museum. A trust was created to run the new museum: ‘Tudor House Broadway Trust’ which involves trustees from the local community, Ashmolean Museum and University of Oxford.
In order to tell the stories of the building using the breadth of the Ashmolean collections, the main interpretive theme that was laid out throughout the museum was chronological. This began with the 17th century, the first period of the house and also the century in which the Ashmolean itself was established – 1683. As visitors walk around the three floors of the property, it naturally becomes lighter, which lends itself to the ‘journey’ through the centuries. On ground floor, the building has dark wall panelling and the displays include delicate 16-17th century paintings from the Tradescant Collection and a Sheldon embroidery. The first floor is far lighter with no panelling on the walls, which means that the 18th century glass and silver is well lit and the beam structure of the building is also more prominent. The 19th century through to the 21st century are represented on the upper floor, which also has stunning stained glass windows and exposed beams in the roof.
The building itself underwent a major refurbishment physically in order to ensure all aspects of it were the highest museum standards. The work took several months and involved skilled contractors to install the electrical and security systems. Like the Arts and Crafts Architect, C.E.Mallows, who carried out the last major refurbishment in 1908, we ensured that we stabilised and maintained the beautiful and fascinating features of the property throughout.
The Ashmolean Museum Broadway opened to the public on Saturday 7 September 2013, with the accolade of being 'the most significant cultural contribution to Worcestershire in this generation'.
Ashmolean Museum Broadway, 65 High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DP.
Admission: £6/£4.50 concessions
Free: Children Under 5 and Worcestershire Residents (1 per household. Ends 28 February 2013)
Access: Due to conservation regulations of the Grade II* building, Tudor House is not fully accessible to disabled visitors. For more information visit: www.ashmoleanbroadway.org