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Oxford - United Kingdom

Ashmolean Museum

The museum and collection

In 2009 Meyvaert installed the largest UK museum display case project at the Ashmolean Museum in the last 15 years. The gigantic project encompassed 466 showcases as well as hundreds of other elements including central displays, graphics and internal elements. 

Two years later in 2011, Meyvaert was successful in winning the consecutive tender at the same Oxford museum. For the second phase of major redevelopment, a further 50 cases were required for the Ashmolean’s Egyptian Galleries. The six galleries house the museum’s astounding collections of ancient Egypt and Nubai (present day Sudan). 

The assignment

In 2009, our excellent collaboration with Metaphor and the museum’s design team allowed us to fulfil their showcase demands for the museum’s extension, including 100m wall cases with both heavy-duty hinge and pull and slide mechanisms. The entire project was successfully completed on time for a royal opening.

In 2011, our collaboration with RMA Architects was fruitful, allowing us to translate their minimalistic designs into custom-made and purpose-built constructions. We prototyped both large cases to evaluate lighting and drawers to experience their ease of use.

The main challenge lay in finding new technical solutions to construct the display cases, whilst respecting every aesthetic aspect of their design intent. Numerous limitations forced us to develop a new opening mechanism, as well as reduce the sizes of structural elements of our existing systems.

The project: challenges & results

Meyvaert’s utilisation of the latest technology in museum displays has enabled to double the number of mummies and coffins to be presented to the public. To meet the requirements of the internal layout of the cases, as designed and envisaged by the Ashmolean staff, we faced new challenges developing and constructing unseen bespoke internal elements. Thanks to the use of special mounting techniques, the mummy coffins are being displayed in an upright position for the first time. 

Additionally, innumerable objects that had been in storage for decades were finally redisplayed owing to the cases’ high level of sophistication, especially in terms of their fulfilment of conservation specifications.  Moreover, the challenging project, which was completed on time, has gone on to win awards and global recognition.

Project

Ashmolean Museum

Country

United Kingdom

Year

2011

Type of museum

History

Designer

Metaphor & RMA Architects

Scope

500 + Bespoke cases

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