Ralph Applebaum Associates

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Royal Albert Memorial Museum

Exeter, England

Royal Albert Memorial Museum
Royal Albert Memorial Museum_2

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) is a beloved Victorian treasure and a cultural destination at the heart of the South-West of England. Its galleries represent four major collection areas: antiquities, art, natural history, and world cultures. The world cultures collections are designated as being of national and international significance by the UK government.

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Royal Albert Memorial Museum_4

Starting with an early masterplanning strategy for improvement, RAA completed the interpretation design for nine of the museum’s galleries. The museum has an unusually rich and diverse collection, some 1.5 million objects of international importance. They include a large collection of archaeological artifacts from Devon and Exeter, along with zoological, entomological, geological, and anthropological artifacts 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.

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Royal Albert Memorial Museum_7

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 and disciplines. The visitor is encouraged to piece together artifacts’ significance 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.

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Following its re-opening, in December 2011, RAMM was awarded the title Museum of the Year by the prestigious Art Fund Prize in 2012.

Size 10,500 Square Feet

Year 2011

Architect Allies and Morrison

Project Details

FabricationBAM Construction Ltd. (Main Contractor); BAF Graphics (Graphics)

Audio-VisualElectrosonic (Hardware); Spiral (Software)

LightingDHA Design


Structural EngineeringBuilding Design Partnership

RenovationBAM Construction Ltd.

InstallationBenbow Group

Project Management & Quantity SurveyorFocus Consultants

AwardsArt Fund Prize: Winner, Museum of the YearCreativity International Award: Silver, Environmental GraphicsEvent Marketer, Event Design Award: Gold, Best Museum EnvironmentIndustrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), International Design Excellence Award (IDEA): Gold, Enviroments

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