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Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00
Closed Good Friday, 24-26 & 31 December and 1 January


Current projects

A History of the Fitzwilliam Museum

To mark the Fitzwilliam Museum’s bicentenary, the Museum commissioned research into its own history, hitherto no more than cursorily treated in the prefaces to general Museum books or catalogues. The research involved in-depth investigation and assimilation of the contents of the Museum’s own archive, besides documents preserved in the archives of the University and national and regional archives. 

The principal output of this project has been Lucilla Burn’s publication, The Fitzwilliam Museum: a History

Ancient Egyptian Coffins

This project takes an integrated look at both the iconography and structure of Ancient Egyptian coffins, drawing together curatorial, conservation and scientific research, and experimental archaeology. This approach will result in a more complete history of each object. 

Being an Islander: Art and Identity of the large Mediterranean Islands

Culminating in an ambitious exhibition to be held in 2021-22, this project will elucidate what defines island identity in the Mediterreanean and explore how insularity affects and shapes cultural identity, using the examples of Cyprus, Crete and Sardinia. 

Cambridge Illuminations Research Project

Researching the nearly 4000 illuminated manuscripts and incunabula preserved at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Cambridge Colleges, this project is internationally recognised for unearthing new evidence about manuscript production, patronage and use.


Supported by grants from the Charlotte Bonham-Carter Charitable Trust and the Marlay Group, the CONSERV’D project plans to transform documentation procedures and practices within the Conservation Department at the Fitzwilliam Museum. This will significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of our work and, ultimately, the accessibility of the collections for scholars, students and the public.

Degas: A Passion for Perfection

Degas’s pursuit of the mastery of his creative means is evident in his relentless experimentation with technical procedures throughout his long career. This exhibition draws on the extensive but still little-known collections of the Fitzwilliam Museum to examine Degas’s practice and processes in the wide range of media in which he worked. 

Early Medieval Corpus Single Finds of Coins in the British Isles, 410-1180

A project to gather together into a single database all of the single finds of coins minted 410-1180 found in the British Isles.

Young people in the Museum

Embedding and demonstrating the value of technology-enhanced cultural impact measurement for arts and culture organisations

The University of Cambridge Museums are collaborating on an AHRC grant led by Warwick University and the National Gallery. Educators on the Children and Young People's Programmes will test and implement robust methods for audience research and evaluation through the innovative use of automated systems under the guidance of a team of social scientists and technologists.

Learning Research

The Learning Department engages in research to build our understanding of the value of museum collections and programmes to learners and audiences, and to investigate and develop our practice as educators. 

Metal-detector survey at Rendlesham.

Lordship and Landscape in East Anglia AD 400−800

Unique in early England for its wealth and complexity, and best paralleled by central places in contemporary Scandinavia, Rendlesham in Suffolk has major implications for our understanding of the character and origins of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and for processes of state-formation around the North Sea.

Material Cultures in Public Engagement

Supported by the TOPOI Excellence Cluster.

Medieval European Coinage

Medieval European Coinage is a major international work of reference for medieval numismatists, archaeologists and historians. The series of some 20 volumes, published by Cambridge University Press, will cover the coinage of Europe c. 450 to c. 1500, region by region. 

Michelangelo – A Discovery

Unsigned and undocumented, yet evidently by a great Renaissance master, the Rothschild bronzes were loaned to the Fitzwilliam Museum from summer 2014 until autumn 2015 and became the centre of a major international, interdisciplinary research project led by Dr Victoria Avery (Keeper, Applied Arts) and Professor Paul Joannides (Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Cambridge). Visual analysis and circumstantial evidence have permitted the Principal Investigators to propose that they are early works by Michelangelo, datable to c. 1506-08.  A multi-authored volume on the Rothschild bronzes is currently being prepared for publication (spring 2017). 

MINIARE: Manuscript Illumination: Non-Invasive Analysis, Research and Expertise

This project is transforming our understanding of medieval painting by using non-invasive analytical methods to identify the materials and techniques in illuminated manuscripts. 

Polychromy Revealed

We are planning a large-scale research project which will enable us to investigate, interpret, conserve and display the Museum's exceptional collection of medieval wood sculptures, largely polychrome, made across Western Europe c.1300-1550. 

Nursery in residence

Practitioner Led Research with Young Children

This pracitioner led research project focuses on young children in museums. 

Re-approaching Ancient Cyprus

A re-contextualisation and redisplay of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collections of Ancient Cypriot artefacts to reflect the close affinities of the island of Cyprus with its neighbours, particularly the Aegean, Near Eastern and North African cultures, across time.  The project will also bring to light the fundamental role the island has played in trade across the Mediterranean region, as well as the way its insularity has shaped a unique cultural identity, allowing indigenous cultural forms to be preserved and transmitted whilst new ideas and external influences   are simultaneously assimilated.  Supported by the A. G. Leventis Foundation.

Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles

The British Sylloge project was first promoted in the early 1950s by Christopher Blunt and other members of the British and Royal Numismatic Societies. An informal committee was formed under the chairmanship of Sir Frank Stenton, who in 1956 secured its admission as a Committee of the British Academy. The first volume, on Anglo-Saxon coins in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, was published by the British Academy in 1958; almost 70 further volumes have since been published, covering more than two hundred national, university and provincial museums, as well as select private collections, in Britain and Ireland and of museums in Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia and the United States of America.

Unlocking the English Portrait Miniature: The Materiality of Isaac Oliver's Oeuvre

The portrait miniature is a rare art form that was brought to perfection in Elizabethan and Jacobean England by Nicholas Hilliard (1547-1619) and Isaac Oliver (c.1565-1617). The surviving miniatures, of which the Fitzwilliam holds a collection of national importance, together with a small number of contemporary treatises produced by practitioners of the art, allow a unique insight into a formative period in the development of the country’s visual and political culture.


‘To be Treasured for a Thousand Years’: Chinese Bronzes at the Fitzwilliam Museum

This project is cataloguing and researching the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection of Chinese bronzes, examining how the objects were cast and used, as well as their cultural influences.

“Please Do Not Touch”: Risk Mitigation and the efficacy of touching deterrents

This research project is looking at the effectiveness of different touching deterrent methods used for the collections on open display at The Fitzwilliam Museum

Projects by Department