Britain to open first 24-hour museum

The Museum of London, established in 1976 and located now in the City of London, documents the history of Britain's capital city from prehistoric to modern times.
The Museum of London, established in 1976 and located now in the City of London, documents the history of Britain's capital city from prehistoric to modern times.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / MUSEUM OF LONDON

LONDON •The Museum of London plans to become the first museum in Britain to open 24 hours a day, according to a British newspaper.

As part of a £250 million (S$450 million) revamp, it is set to move to a new site in Farringdon in the centre of London city and welcome visitors in the middle of the night.

The Times newspaper said that from 2023, history lovers will be able to drop into the new Farringdon site to view macabre displays any time they please.

The new site is close to nightclubs as well as Smithfield meat market, which opens very early in the morning.

The museum's director hopes that a 24-hour museum will mirror the non-stop lifestyle of the capital.

"I can't think of a more 24-hour site," Ms Sharon Ament, the museum's director, said.

"I believe the Museum of London should try and be like London itself and that really does mean that we have to be more open."

According to The Times, the museum's strategic plan states that it aims to "plug into Farringdon's 24-hour culture and contribute to the growing night-time economy".

Ms Ament revealed that millions in funding has been provided by organisations including the Heritage Lottery Fund, leaving the museum £44 million away from its ambition.

Two architects have been commissioned to draw up designs for the new museum, which will have a much larger space to display more objects.

The new site incorporates a railway line which will pass slowly through the basement of the museum, allowing passengers to get a glimpse of the displays.

Ms Ament said that she wanted the road directly above to "still be a thoroughfare", even when it becomes the museum's main entrance, The Times reported.

"I really want to take the notion of an exploded museum, a museum that goes into the streets, a porous museum where you can flow in and out really, to a new level," she was quoted by The Times as saying.

"It might be people on their way to work at 7am who filter through, see something wonderful, engage with an idea about London and then carry on to their workplace or on their way home," she said.

The Museum of London, established in 1976 and located now in the City of London, documents the history of Britain's capital city from prehistoric to modern times.

It is the largest urban history collection in the world, with more than six million objects.

It opens daily from 10am to 6pm and drew about 678,000 visitors last year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2018, with the headline 'Britain to open first 24-hour museum'. Print Edition | Subscribe