Transforming the Main Court

Project Name
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Project Type
FCC Flagship Programme
Our Funding

The Museum is popular with visitors, but their Main Court’s displays had been in situ for 20 years with few changes. Nowadays visitors expect exhibits to be displayed in imaginative and appealing ways, with multiple layers of information. The Museum wanted to address this through creative interpretations of new displays, to engage audiences in thought-provoking and meaningful exploration and learning by providing new modern display cabinets able to preserve the Museum’s unique collection in an innovative and engaging manner.

FCC Communities Foundation provided £250,000 towards the design and manufacture of 10 new modern display cabinets for the Museum. The new displays would make better use of the building’s beauty, height and space while preserving the elements visitors value – such as objects of special interest and the ‘touchability’ of specimens.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions it was not possible to complete the installation of permanent exhibition displays in the new cabinets so new temporary displays were commissioned to celebrate the Museums 160th anniversary demonstrating how the Museum has changed with the times over the years.

The Museum is thrilled with the new cabinets and their initial displays. The new cabinets have transformed the Centre Court by adding more light and a feeling of space. Despite restrictions the Museum was able to open during 2020 and an accompanying online presence showcasing the new displays and the Museums anniversary was created.

The temporary displays housed in the new cabinets has enabled the Museum to test out different layouts and gain feedback before the permanent exhibition displays are finalised and installed as part of the Museums ongoing redevelopment throughout 2021.