published a beautifully illustrated article by editor Ursula Kampmann on the Ashmolean Museum In Oxford, with a focus on the coin gallery (including a peek behind the scenes). Here are some excerpts, but be sure to click the link to read the complete article. To subscribe, go to
One object next to the other, some curators still think, that's the art of museology. And they are very surprised, when visitors admit that they found their tour a little bit boring. We need new conceptions to mesmerize traditional and new visitors. The renovated Ashmolean shows how to do it.
Only the classical entrance of the building accomplished in 1845 was conserved. Between 2006 and 2009 the showrooms and all facilities for administration and scholarship were rebuilt.
The galleries are more than a place for objects, they want to communicate a message. The Islamic gallery for example addresses an art without pictures. The coins are used here in order to trace the development of this art: away from the Byzantine patterns to purely abstract artworks.
The Ashmolean Money Gallery
The Money Gallery features the highlights of the Ashmolean coin collection, including a hoard found in 2003, which enclosed an antoninianus. This coin proved the existence of Domitianus, a Late Roman emperor reigning ca. 271.
Coin Cabinets in the Ashmolean Money Gallery Strong Room
The Ashmolean is more than a tourist attraction. Here, young archaeologists, historians and numismatists are trained. This room is the place for numismatic studies. It is located next to the strong room, where the extensive coin collection is stored under conservationally ideal conditions.
I guess Elias Ashmole would have been very happy, if he was able to see, how "his" museum was adapted to the needs of the 21st century!
To read the complete article, see:
The new Ashmolean and its astonishing conception
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