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Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
Sundays & Bank Holidays: 12:00 - 17:00

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Founder's dome

A restoration and sustainability project on the iconic domed lantern in the ceiling of the Main Entrance will close the area until early June to facilitate the erection of scaffolding. This may lead to some occasional gallery closures eg. the closure of Galleries 1 and 2 from 13.00 - 14.15 while our Sunday lunchtime concerts take place in Gallery 3.

The major building project is funded by The University of Cambridge, who have commissioned specialist contractors and architectural advice to restore the domed lantern.

The first phase of the project will be the temporary closure of the Main Entrance from Tuesday 25 April while scaffolding and a temporary ceiling canopy are put in place to enable access to the roof space. The building will remain open as usual throughout this time with access solely via the Courtyard Entrance.

At the start of June the Main Entrance will re-open as the next phase of building works begin, until early 2018 when the project will conclude. While the restoration work is being carried out, the Entrance Hall will be largely covered in protective cladding and the ceiling obscured by the canopy. Victorian vents will be unsealed to allow hot air to escape from the dome, thereby preventing further damage from condensation. The vents were originally designed to allow circulation of hot air but, at some point in the past, had been sealed to retain heat. Their Victorian engineering will now be reinstated and the vents returned to their original design. Damaged curved glass will be also be replaced, roofing repairs carried out and plasterwork consolidated. Aesthetically, gilding and painting will restore the original splendour of the internal decorative scheme.

The final stage will concentrate on reducing the carbon footprint of the Museum by installing LED lighting, designed to be both economically and and environmentally beneficial, it will be a vital element for the building's future sustainability.

Completed in 1848, the Founder's Building of the Fitzwilliam was designed by Neoclassical architect George Basevi and is one of the grandest museum buildings in the world. Tim Knox, the Director commented, 'The Fitzwilliam is a historic Cambridge landmark, internationally recognised for its importance and beauty. This restoration is needed to ensure the safety and sustainability of a much-loved building.'

Updates on the restoration will be available through our website and social media.