The Natural History Museum first opened its doors to the public back in 1881. We were commissioned to carry out three major studies into how the museum can bring its buildings and grounds into the 21st Century – dinosaurs and all.
The natural history museum has up to 5 million visitors every year
Built at the end of the nineteenth century, the museums grand entrances were designed to accommodate visitors arriving by horse drawn-carriage. The public, however, were directed via the underground tunnels from South Kensington tube station, a circumstance of the times.
Today, the museum’s antiquated features can make it difficult for large crowds to move around the building. And with nearly 5 million visitors every year, it was certainly time to think about making some changes.
Working with disability access consultants, English Heritage and local conservation groups, we carried out three studies: how the grounds can be improved, how the archiving systems can be updated and how the quarantining process could work better.
We reported back in each area, giving recommendations for the museum’s sites for the next twenty-five years.
We reported back in each area,
giving our recommendations for
the museum’s sites for the next
After analysing the circulation of people, we created calm new plans to make the museum more accessible for all. By opening up new routes and replotting existing areas, navigation was made clearer and simpler for people, whilst dramatically increasing the gallery space.
Our study also researched the possibility of a new entrance hall for the grade 1 listed building.
And to continue the exhibitions outside, we drew up landscaping designs with indigenous plants and trees.
Our long-term plans will modernise the museum without losing any of the features that make it special. They’ll allow more of the fascinating collection to be on display. And – most importantly – they’ll make it possible for more people than ever to discover a national institution.
Client: Natural History Museum
Architecture & Engineering: Arup Associates