Greece and Rome at the Fitzwilliam Museum: supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

The physical work on the new installation has been funded by a variety of sources. But underpinning the success of the project overall is a generous grant from the AHRC. The funding programme to which we applied was called 'Research to underpin new displays and temporary exhibitions - Maximising the impact of scholarly research in the arts and humanities'. This programme was designed to set up partnerships between people working in museums and in university departments. The idea is that museum displays can benefit from the additional expertise brought in from outside, while university academics in turn get the opportunity for closer involvement with a museum collection than they would usually enjoy.

Image["Conservator Christina Rozeik examining a red-figure amphora"]

Conservator Christina Rozeik
examining a red-figure amphora

The partnership that we have established is between the staff of the Department of Antiquities here at the Fitzwilliam Museum, principally the Keeper, Lucilla Burn, and the Senior Assistant Keeper (Conservation), Julie Dawson, and three historians and classical archaeologists in the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Classics: Mary Beard, Robin Osborne and Carrie Vout. The grant also provides funds for the employment of two additional members of staff, classical archaeologist Kate Cooper and conservator Christina Rozeik. Christina, whose post is funded partly by the AHRC and partly by other sources, will be based in the museum for two years; once the redisplay is finished Kate will be dividing the remainder of her three-year contract between the museum and the Classics Faculty.

Our grant application stressed the need to ensure that developments in the way that the material remains of the ancient world have been viewed are reflected in the organisation and information provision of the new display. Since the last fundamental redisplay of the Greek and Roman gallery took place in the 1960s there have been several such developments, including:

Image["The 'Flaxman Apollo'"]

The 'Flaxman Apollo' (GR.2.1885):
this headless, limbless torso was
restored in 1797 as the god Apollo

We also argued that there was a need to re-integrate 'people' into the picture in the interests of building up the individual 'biography' of each object or group. In other words, we want to look at all the people who have had a hand in giving each object in the collection its current shape and appearance. These will include some or all of the following:

What are the main outcomes of the project?

The main bulletin board for progress on the project will remain the blog so to see how we are getting on, please keep watching this space!

The Fitzwilliam Museum : Greece & Rome

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