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11/08/2009

Oxford's Ashmolean Museum Reopens After 10 Months and $100 Million

Ashmolean Museum of Art and ArchaeologyOXFORD, ENGLAND — After 10-months and an almost $100 million renovation, Oxford's Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology reopened to the public on Saturday. The world's first university museum, the Ashmolean has added 39 new galleries, including four temporary exhibition galleries, a new education center and state-of-the art conservation studios.

Rick Mather Architects was responsible for the redesign and realizing the museum's new display strategy called "Crossing Cultures Crossing Time"; it is based on the idea that the civilizations which shaped our modern societies developed as part of an interrelated world culture, rather than in isolation.

The Ashmolean collection includes rare Islamic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese objects, archaeological specimens and fine art. The museum has one of the best collections of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, majolica pottery and English silver. Other objects of note include T.E. Lawrence's Arab dress, an entire Japanese tea house, a lantern used by Guy Fawkes and and a hawking glove used by Henry VIII.

Nicholas Barber, Chairman of the Ashmolean, commented, “Renowned for our collections, the Ashmolean has always held a strong position on the cultural map. But now, with a magnificent new building and inspiring displays, the Museum has been transformed into one of the world’s great cultural jewels.”
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[Photo: A newly renovated exhibit gallery inside the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology]
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