On 30 January 2010 the Gallery of Greek and Roman Antiquities (gallery 21) reopened after an 18-month period of refurbishment.
This has been a long awaited and eagerly anticipated opportunity to refresh the Greek and Roman display. The last re-arrangement of this gallery dated back to the 1960s, and over the decades since then the types of questions being asked about the ancient world have radically changed. At the same time huge advances have been made in conservation, environmental control and display-case design. This redisplay brings the Fitzwilliam's antiquities collection into the 21st century. Issues that arise from the latest research are explored through new object and information arrangements in a modern setting that complements the 19th-century architecture of the gallery.
The physical refurbishment of the gallery is part of a larger research project funded by the AHRC. Find out more about the project, which runs until October 2011, here. This research into the Greek and Roman world and the Museum's own collection of antiquities has already contributed to the new gallery display and will continue to enhance the online information. Keep watching this space for new developments.
Questions we are considering include:
- What was the ancient context of the antiquities, and how were they used and viewed by their ancient audiences?
- How has our perception of the objects been affected by their more recent, post-excavation history? In particular, how have the individual preoccupations of collectors shaped the collection as it is seen today?
- Can we discover more about the ancient techniques used to create these antiquities?
- How has the history of restoration affected the antiquities?
- How are we conserving the antiquities today?
- What processes are involved in redisplaying a museum collection, and what unexpected challenges have we encountered?