A Look Inside The £2.8m Museum of Oxford Transformation

Museum of Oxford

New Development Will See the Museum Triple in Size

Oxford City Council has revealed its exciting new plans for the Museum of Oxford, six years after the old museum closed its doors in 2011.

It has been a long time coming, but residents and visitors to one of the UK’s most historic cities have at last received a glimpse of how their new museum will look. Oxford City Council revealed the plans for the £2.8 million project to create a heritage space in the middle of the city, that will have a primary focus on Oxford and its people.

While still at the development stage at present, the designs will be discussed by the appropriate Executive Board over the coming weeks, and construction could begin as soon as 2019, with an estimated opening date in 2020.

Fly through technology

One of the most exciting parts of the plans has been the use of a fly-through video. This incredible tool shows just how far the planning and surveying industry has advanced in step with new computer imaging technology. Bath-based survey company Sova Surveys used the same tool in this incredible fly through video for the Holburne Museum project, and it is truly breath-taking.

Hidden Histories

The Oxford Museum redevelopment project has been dubbed Oxford’s Hidden Histories, which gives a strong indication of the local community focus that it will embrace. The aim is to increase the number of exhibits to 750 – this is almost three times the present number that are on display in the new museum that is currently open alongside the old building. There will also be new areas for cutting-edge interactive exhibits that will be certain to capture the imagination of local schoolchildren and adults alike.

To create room for these new features, the council plans to effectively knock through and join the old museum building to the new museum next door. There are also plans to bring the old basement area under the old museum back into use.

Costs and funding

The project encountered complications over the past year, when specialist surveyors discovered a number of potentially serious and costly problems in the basement, including damp and asbestos. These issues were compounded by the fact that the building has Grade II* listing, meaning that any repair and alteration has to meet stringent rules and go through a rigorous approval process.

Total costs of the redevelopment have now been confirmed at £2.8 million, and Oxford City Council has submitted a grant application for just over £1.6 million to the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Council is also likely to increase its own capital contribution from £315,000 to around £925,000, and the remainder is set to be raised through the museum’s own fundraising efforts. The development trust has so far raised more than £40,000.

Celebrating the city

Councillor Dee Sinclair expressed the local authority’s excitement that the project is, at last, showing signs of real progress. She said: “A lot of work has been happening to get us to this point, including winning charity status for the development trust, consultation with the public and the detailed building survey. We are now ready to push on with this exciting project, which will celebrate the rich, fascinating and world-famous history of our city and its people.”