Transforming The Galleries
The Ashmolean’s transformation in 2009 has revolutionised both the way the collections are presented and how we engage and enthuse our visitors. Rick Mather Architects, the contractor Beard, and the Museum’s curatorial and design teams have created a new sequence of six galleries with improved routes through the displays, presenting the collections under broad themes:
The New Galleries
- Egypt at its Origins
(The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery)
- Dynastic Egypt and Nubia
(The Christian Levett Family Gallery)
- Life After Death in Ancient Egypt
(The Sackler Gallery)
- The Amarna Revolution
- Egypt in the Age of Empires
- Egypt Meets Greece and Rome
The Ashmolean's collections are among the most important collections outside Egypt and one of the Museum's most popular attractions. This exciting series of new galleries will transform opportunities for using the collections for teaching and research at all levels, and the way in which they are enjoyed and cared for well into the future.
The displays are transformed in line with the Ashmolean’s new display strategy, Crossing Cultures Crossing Time, to integrate the collections within the wider Museum. The project provides new lighting and showcases with state of the art facilities and completes the Museum’s Ancient World Floor, with galleries for the world’s great civilisations:
- Galleries of Ancient Egypt and Nubia
- The Ancient Near East
- The Aegean World
- Classical Greece and Rome
- India to AD 600
- Early China and Japan
One of the great gallery spaces within the Ashmolean, which had previously been occupied by the Museum Shop, is at last restored as such to display the Predynastic and Protodynastic Egyptian collections, with openings through to the pre-existing Egypt galleries creating a continuous circuit.
The gallery housing the Shrine of Taharqa has been opened up, with a ‘daylight’ ceiling to illuminate this impressive monument.
Existing openings between galleries have been enlarged to create a feeling of space and to provide more room around larger objects, enabling visitors to fully appreciate and enjoy their individuality and beauty.
High and low tech interactives have incorporated the most successful features of those developed for the new Ashmolean to create a more hands-on experience of the collections for visitors of all ages
The environmental conditions in the galleries have been improved and are monitored more effectively, with controlled cases for sensitive objects where necessary. The electrical and security services have been updated and integrated with those throughout the rest of the Museum.
|November 2010||Oxford City Council grant planning permission|
|December 2010||Collections begin to move into storage|
|January 2011||Galleries closed for start of construction work|
|February 2011||Ground floor Shop closed for move downstairs|
|March 2011||New Shop opened on lower-ground floor|
|September 2011||Construction completed; installation begins|
|26 November 2011||New galleries of Ancient Egypt and Nubia open to public|