Situated on Trumpington Street and opposite Fitzwilliam Street; the Fitzwilliam Museum is full of character and charm; making it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Cambridge.
Founded in 1816, to commemorate the life and works of Richard Fitzwilliam, the museum received £100,000 investment. Building began to erect the museum in 1837 by English Academic, Gilbert Ainslie. The museum didn’t officially open its doors to public until 1848. Initially, the collections were stored in the Perse School building, in Free School Lane. Later, in 1842, the collection was then placed in the Old Schools, part of the Cambridge University Library. By 1975 the grand entrance, which includes a series of large and towering pillars, was completed by English Architect, Edward Middleton Barry. In 1912, an £80,000 donation from English Art Collector; Charles Brinsley Marlay was given to the museum, along with a collection of almost 100 paintings from his most private collection.
By 1931, a wealthy textiles family-owned production company expanded the museum by a total of two-storeys. The welcomed expansion allowed a series of researchers to work at the museum and to make improvements.
Today, the museum boasts a collection of almost half a million artefacts and is divided into five different sections. With works chosen from Greece and Rome; pieces from Egypt, a selection Cypriot Art and a series of English and European artworks, there are many eye-catching and interesting pieces to view. The museum also includes antique clocks, glass, furniture, fans, armour and a pottery collection. Alongside these hidden gems are also medals, coins, music and literary manuscripts, paintings and rare prints.
Useful Information: visiting/accessing the museum and opening hours:
Admission: FREE (donations welcome)
Average length of stay: Between 2 to 3 hours
Tuesday-Saturday: Open – 10:00-17:00
Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays: 12:00 – 17:00
CLOSED: Mondays, Good Friday, 24-26 & 31 December and 1 January
The Fitzwilliam Cafe:
Situated near the main Courtyard Entrance, the cafe boasts a wide variety of refreshments, including: tea and coffee, afternoon tea, sandwiches and light lunches. So, whatever tickles your tastebuds, there is a wide array of food choices within the museum cafe.
The Fitzwilliam Gift Shop:
Also in the Courtyard is the museum’s very own shop. Inspired by the collections and works of Fitzwilliam, there is a wide array of merchandise. Stocked with good quality notecards, books, cards and gift wrap among other fascinating keepsakes, you will be sure to find a special something to remember your visit.
Detailed information of the latest and upcoming events held at the Fitzwilliam museum can be found here.
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