University of Cambridge Museums

Projects, events and news from the University of Cambridge Museums

Researching the history of the Fitzwilliam Museum

In 2016 the Fitzwilliam Museum will be celebrating the bicentenary of its foundation, in 1816, by the will of Richard, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion.

Dr Lucilla Burn, Acting Assistant Director at the Fitzwilliam Museum, recently gave a talk to the Society of Antiquaries of London on her current research into the history of the Museum. This research will culminate in a new book which will be published to coincide with the Bicentenary celebrations.



The Museum today is very much the product of its (nearly) two-hundred-year history, its survival and evolution through successive developments in perceptions of the function of museums and galleries, both within the context of the University of Cambridge and more widely. The Fitzwilliam has been shaped by these, and also by the characters, personalities and ambitions of successive Directors, staff, Syndics and benefactors – ‘not bad for a provincial museum’ wrote the Director of the day, with barely concealed pride, in 1951.

Find out more about the Society of Antiquaries of London at

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2014 by in Behind the Scenes, News and tagged , , , .
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