Following the Government announcement yesterday, museums and galleries in Cambridge will be closed to the public as part of a period of national/local restrictions. So, with great sadness, we will not be able to reopen as planned on 2 January 2021.
The Museum's Main Entrance has re-opened to the public, following the installation of scaffolding to enable a restoration and sustainability project on the iconic domed lantern in the ceiling.
The major building project is funded by The University of Cambridge, who have commissioned specialist contractors and architectural advice to restore the domed lantern.
The first phase of the project involved the temporary closure of the Main Entrance while scaffolding and a temporary ceiling canopy were put in place to enable access to the roof space. People can now enter via the Main Entrance once again, while building works carry on overhead.
Victorian vents will be unsealed to allow hot air to escape from the dome, thereby preventing further damage from condensation. The vents were originally designed to allow circulation of hot air but, at some point in the past, had been sealed to retain heat. Their Victorian engineering will now be reinstated and the vents returned to their original design. Damaged curved glass will also be replaced, roofing repairs carried out and plasterwork consolidated. Aesthetically, gilding and painting will restore the original splendour of the internal decorative scheme. The final stage will concentrate on reducing the carbon footprint of the Museum by installing LED lighting, designed to be both economically and and environmentally beneficial, it will be a vital element for the building's future sustainability. All building work will be due to finish early 2018.
Completed in 1848, the Founder's Building of the Fitzwilliam was designed by Neoclassical architect George Basevi and is one of the grandest museum buildings in the world. Tim Knox, the Director commented, 'The Fitzwilliam is a historic Cambridge landmark, internationally recognised for its importance and beauty. This restoration is needed to ensure the safety and sustainability of a much-loved building.'
Updates on the restoration will be available through our website, social media and blog:
Lantern Project in the Founder’s Entrance (Part 1)
Lantern Project in the Founder’s Entrance (Part 2)
Lantern Project in the Founder's Entrance (Part 3)
Lantern Project in the Founder's Entrance (Part 4)
Lantern Project in the Founder's Entrance (Part 5)