Ashmolean Museum Egyptian Galleries

  • Rick Mather Architects

  • Rick Mather Architects

  • Rick Mather Architects

  • Rick Mather Architects

A highly specialised and technically sensitive refurbishment and remodelling of museum galleries in a Grade I-listed building.


This scheme involved a phased works programme on the museum’s Grade I-listed Charles Cockerell building which required relocating the shop to the lower ground floor to provide additional space, and the creation of a new sequence of galleries to display the Ashmolean’s rare Egyptian collections. The works also included enlarging openings between the original galleries for improved access involving extensive structural work as well as repairing and conserving as much of the building fabric and finish as possible. New mechanical and electrical services were installed to improve lighting and environmental conditions throughout the new galleries.


  • A complex crane operation to lift new plant machinery onto the museum roof from one of Oxford’s busiest streets
  • Tight control of construction dust and moisture so it would not damage the exhibits
  • Minimised vibration to prevent damaging exhibits and disruption to visitors in a live environment


A collaborative team project approach was essential to delivering this refurbishment. Beard’s project team worked closely with museum staff and the design team in setting the programme and sequencing of works to minimise disruption to museum visitors.

Dust and vibration control were vital to the success of the project and required innovative construction approaches. An example of this was the fragile Shrine of Taharqa, an immovable four metre square monument in the very centre of the galleries. Beard’s project team created a specially constructed shell which was lowered over the shrine. This protected it from surrounding building activities while observation panels and vibration sensors enabled staff to monitor the shrine as work progressed.

“Beard has wide experience with buildings such as this and the right specialist skills. The collaboration achieved by the team with museum staff and architects Rick Mather has ensured a smooth running project, overcoming both technical and logistical challenges to deliver a stunning new exhibition space for our Egyptian collections.” 

Henry Kim, Ashmolean Development Project Manager



Oxford University Estates Directorate

Contract value

£3 million


Rick Mather Architects

Quantity Surveyor

Gardiner & Theobald

Contract duration

37 weeks

Form of contract

JCT Design and Build 2005

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