Ashmolean Museum


The new building, designed by architect Rick Mather and constructed by contractor BAM, lies behind the original grade one listed Cockerell building, and is barely visible from the street due to the close proximity of surrounding buildings. The compact nature of the construction site and proximity of colleges, libraries and local residents posed a logistical challenge for the project team.

About the project

Mace were appointed by Estates Services as Project Managers in 2004 and were responsible for all phases of the new project from decanting, to final fit-out consisting of some 400 custom made display cases (built as complete units including lighting in Belgium and then shipped over to the UK) and co-ordination and management of the interior fit-out of the museum's climate controlled collection stores, study rooms, offices and conservation laboratories. The museum can now display many objects which have never before been seen by the public, in carefully controlled conditions. The new building also includes day-lit temporary exhibition galleries conditioned to government loan indemnity standards.


The museum attracted 22,000 people over the opening weekend, and now attracts an average of 6,000 people a day. The opening of the museum attracted extensive press attention, including two BBC TV news reports:

With the redevelopment complete, and the museum open for all to see, the Ashmolean has a world-class building to match its world-class collection. The project now leaves a lasting legacy in Oxford and the UK museum industry.

Key stakeholders

The redevelopment project was made possible by a £15 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and a number of generous donations from various trusts, foundations and private donors, including major support from the Linbury Trust.

Design team and contractor

Project Manager: Mace Limited
Cost Consultant: Gardiner & Theobald
Main Contractor: Peter Brett Associates
Architect: Rick Mather Architects
Services Engineers: Atelier Ten
Structural Engineers: Dewhurst Macfarlane & Partners
Independent Commissioning Engineers: Andrew Reid & Partners
Exhibition Designer: Metaphor
Security Consultant: Consort Securities


Total project value: £61,000,000

Published August 2014