A ‘Democratic Turn’ at the Ashmolean Museum

Susan Walker

in Classics in the Modern World

Published in print October 2013 | ISBN: 9780199673926
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191760570 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

A ‘Democratic Turn’ at the Ashmolean Museum

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The redevelopment of the Ashmolean Museum in the University of Oxford, UK, opened in 2009, has vastly increased the numbers and social range of the museum’s visitors. In this chapter the museum’s efforts to reach out to new visitors are considered with reference to the funding and management of the building redevelopment project, the development of an integrated display concept and the use of interactive and other devices for engaging the visitors’ interest in the collections. The current display concept of ‘Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time’ is explained with a focus on the narrative potential of the Ashmolean’s exceptionally rich archival resources. The redevelopment is set in the context of the longer history of the Ashmolean, which first opened its doors to the public in 1683. Problems of lighting and labelling are explored, and the impact of visitors’ responses is evaluated.

Keywords: museum; project management; design; display; building history

Chapter.  4259 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Philosophy ; Classical Literature

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