The Museum of Zoology is undergoing a £4m redevelopment project to create a state-of-the-art space in which to display the University’s collection of four million zoological specimens. The Wolfson award money will be used to support a major refit of the gallery space by providing new display cases, lighting and interpretation of the objects on display, as well as signage and audio-visual hardware. It will be added to the previous £1.8m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Polly Hodgson, museum project manager, said: “Our aim is to completely re-imagine the Museum of Zoology and provide a truly world-class home for our world-class collections. The DCMS grant is another huge step forward for our plans and will allow us to exhibit more of our animals, insects and skeletons than ever before.
“The new gallery displays will celebrate animal diversity, explore its evolution and the threats it faces, and open up the stories of the people behind our understanding and protection of it.”
On 21 April, the museum was visited by Sir David Attenborough, who met staff and looked around the site for the new David Attenborough Building, which will act as a collaborative hub for the conservation community in Cambridge and beyond.
As well as the redevelopment of the gallery spaces, wider plans for the Museum of Zoology include a new Whale Hall, providing a dramatic new entrance to the Museum and safe home for its iconic finback whale skeleton, as well as new stores to house the historic and scientifically important collections.
Culture secretary Sajid Javid said: “The Government is committed to supporting the arts and making sure our marvellous museums and inspiring galleries continue to be accessible to all. Thanks to the generosity of the Wolfson Foundation, our cultural destinations in communities across the country are going from strength to strength and remain much loved places to visit and explore.”
Other new facilities in the Museum of Zoology, due to reopen in June 2016, include a Discovery Space exploring local wildlife and an activity room providing space for schools.