Fitzwilliam Conservation Plan revisited

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Contact: 

William Fawcett
william.fawcett@carltd.com
tel: 01223 460475

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As recommended in the original Conservation Plan, the artificial lighting in the 1930s galleries was redesigned with light sources in the old rooflight shafts, restoring the designers’ original intentions.

CAR's first Conservation Plan was for the Grade I listed Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. This was in 1999, just before the Museum embarked on a major programme of development. The Conservation Plan made a valuable contribution to the success of these projects.

A new courtyard extension opened in 2004, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and numerous other donors. It is the first new extension at the Museum since the 1970s; previous proposals were defeated by planning and conservation problems. There is now an additional gallery, education room, much larger shop and café, as well as greatly improved accommodation for the Museum's workshops and curators.

The extension also created opportunities for refurbishing the existing Museum. An example is new lighting in the inter-war galleries: they were built with an ingenious system of rooflights, and the new artificial lighting simulates the original daylighting. This was recommended in the Conservation Plan – the effect is a tremendous improvement.

Even though these major projects have been completed, the Museum is constantly undertaking repairs and modifications, so the need for a current Conservation Plan has not disappeared. The Museum commissioned CAR to revise the original Conservation Plan to take account of the changes since 1999.

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