The Museum of Natural History has closed for all of 2013 so that much-needed repairs to the roof can be completed, but the Pitt Rivers Museum is staying open.
After 150 years of leaks through the glass tiles in the Museum of Natural History’s famous vaulted roof, the decision was taken to fix the roof which involves removing and replacing every pane of glass. This work will make buckets on the floor a thing of the past.
Work has already begun to strip the three glass ceilings of the museum, cleaning each of the 8,565 diamond-shaped glass panes and then putting them all back in with safety film and compressible gaskets.
The ornate metal work on the roof will also be cleaned, restoring the iconic roof to its original colour scheme.
“After trial repairs to one third of the roof proved successful it was decided that the remainder of the roof should be repaired in one go,” says Wendy Shepherd from the Museum.
“When the Museum reopens next year it will be bathed in light, as the freshly-cleaned glass tiles are freed of dirt accumulated over many years.”
Although public access to the galleries will not be possible during this period, the education department have organised a vigorous outreach programme in Oxford and around the county.
Scientific research and work on collections will continue as normal and the public will be able to see this process in a regular programme of behind-the-scenes tours announced on the website.
The Pitt Rivers Museum remains open as normal and is still accessed through the main Museum of Natural History entrance.
The building was designed by Dean and Woodward more than 150 years ago in the Victorian Gothic style. It was Britain's second Gothic building, after the Houses of Parliament.
This article was reproduced with kind permission from the Oxford University press office. Image by Jorge Royan.