Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Exeter, England

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) is a beloved Victorian treasure and a cultural destination at the heart of the South-West of England. Starting with an early masterplanning strategy for improvement, RAA completed the interpretation design for nine of the Museum’s galleries. Following its re-opening, in December 2011, RAMM was awarded the title Museum of the Year by the prestigious Art Fund Prize in 2012.

By virtue of its location, the Museum has an unusually rich and diverse collection, some 1.5 million objects of international importance. They include a large collection archaeological artefacts from Devon and Exeter along with zoological, entomological, geological, and anthropological artefacts varying in size from minute insects to a full-sized adult giraffe. RAA’s designs present these collections in an active, stimulating way to engage the Museum’s diverse twenty-first-century audiences. 

The core aim of the project was to make more of RAMM’s collections accessible to a larger audience. Instead of employing typological display techniques, presentation of RAMM’s collections connects across multiple sciences. The visitor is encouraged to piece artefacts' significance together across geological, social, and natural sciences as well as across arts- and humanities-related disciplines. This approach raises questions for the visitor about the notion of collecting. Why do we collect? And what informs our choices of what to collect? Thus, the objects at RAMM are not only celebrated in their own right but are also springboards for wider thought and discourse.

Year:
2011
Architect:

Allies and Morrison

Size:

10,500 square feet

Awards:
  • Arts Fund Prize

  • The Civic Trust Award

  • Event Design Awards, Gold Award, Best Museum Environment

  • Creativity International Awards, Silver Award for Environmental Graphics

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.