On Tuesday, 21 September 2010, at 4.23pm, Mrs. Diane Thomas, a primary school teacher from Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, became the 1 millionth visitor to the Ashmolean Museum
since it reopened to the public on 7 November 2009.
Mrs. Thomas came to the Ashmolean with her daughter, Laura Rolf, to see the new exhibition The Pre-Raphaelites and Italy. She was welcomed at the main entrance by the Museums Director, Christopher Brown, who presented her with some gifts, including 1 years membership to the Friends of the Ashmolean, 2 complimentary exhibition tickets, an Italian meal for 2 in the Ashmolean Dining Room, and a book about the history of the Ashmolean.
Christopher Brown, said, We are absolutely thrilled that there has been such a wonderful public response to the new Ashmolean and we are delighted to reach this figure of 1 million visitors within 10 months of opening.
Mrs. Thomas used to bring primary school children to the Museum years before the re-development. About the new Ashmolean, she said, The Museum is superb, obviously people want to come and see it in its new format, it seems to be very visitor friendly, possibly more than before.
Founded in 1683, the Ashmolean is Britains oldest public museum. Before the Ashmolean undertook its Ł61 million redevelopment, it received 360,000 visitors a year. The new Museum, designed by award-winning Rick Mather Architects, and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Linbury Trust, has been universally acclaimed by the international media and members of the public. The new building has doubled the previous display space. It comprises 35 new galleries for the permanent collections, 4 new galleries for temporary exhibitions, a new education centre, state-of-the-art conservation studios, and Oxfords first rooftop restaurant, The Ashmolean Dining Room.
Inside the new galleries, the Ashmolean presents a redisplay of the collections. The innovative strategy Crossing Cultures Crossing Time enables visitors to discover how civilisations developed as part of an interrelated world culture. The objects stories are told by tracing the journey of ideas and influences through time and across continents, transforming the way the Ashmoleans rare and beautiful objects are understood.
On 1 October 2010 the Ashmolean will complete a further stage of its transformative redevelopment, with the reopening of the Cast Gallery. The Museum has one of the countrys largest collections of casts taken from the monuments and sculptures of the ancient world. As part of the continuing redevelopment of the Ashmoleans new Ancient World galleries, the Cast Gallery, once a separate building, has been united with the Museum and completely redisplayed.