Thursday, 9 October 2008

Ashmolean prepares for £61m revamp

Photographer Theo Chalmers and graphic designer Greg Jones in front of the giant poster of Laurence Fox and Colin Dexter

Oxford Mail
By Andrew Ffrench
Giant posters of Morse author Colin Dexter and Lewis actors Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox are urging passers-by to visit Oxford's Ashmolean Museum before it closes for a major revamp.

The dramatic photographs celebrate the museum's famous collections in the run-up to the launch of the revamped building in a year's time. The images are designed to get people visiting the museum before it closes on January 1 for major building work.

There will be no public access to the Beaumont Street museum or café until autumn 2009, but the shop will remain open for business. The large-scale graphics are on show for four weeks.

Museum director Dr Christopher Brown said: "We are extremely grateful to the individuals who have generously given their time and support to this campaign.

"Photographer Theo Chalmers has created a magnificent series of portraits with which the public can identify. Our thanks also goes to Oxford Bus Company, which has been working with us on an innovative project to keep the Ashmolean in the public eye during the final phase of the museum’s exciting developments."

Other well-known faces will also be appearing on OBC buses in the near future. The portraits illustrate Oxford's history of crime and punishment, and the subjects are pictured holding items related to the imprisonment of the Oxford Martyrs in the Saxon tower of St Michael at the Northgate Church, in Cornmarket Street.

Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer were imprisoned for their Protestant faith under the Roman Catholic rule of Queen Mary, before being burned at the stake in Broad Street in 1555 and 1556.

An online exhibition is being developed for people to upload their favourite stories about the Ashmolean collections, or to share experiences which they have enjoyed at the museum.

Founded in 1683, the museum is the most important museum of art and archaeology outside London.

The £61m refurbishment, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will include 39 new galleries.

Designed by renowned architect Rick Mather, the development will also feature a new education centre, conservation studios, a walk-through between the museum and the Cast Gallery, and Oxford’s first rooftop café.

To find out more about the online exhibition, visit

1 comment:

Theresa said...

Sounds interesting. Wish I could go!