The Museum of London has this week begun work on its prehistoric gallery, designed in collaboration with Conran & Partners, which marks the latest stage in the attraction’s £33m refit.
Costing around £255 000 to design and build, the gallery tells the story of London’s formative years. It details the development of the Thames Valley landscape and how it was populated and worked by humans prior to the Roman conquest in AD43.
Measuring 300m2, the gallery includes a redesigned main entrance to the museum, which features an audio-visual display transporting visitors back to prehistoric London.
Museum of London designer Gary Shelley says a key design challenge facing Conran & Partners, which was appointed last December, was clarifying visitor routes from the new entrance lobby through the Museum of London’s labyrinthine galleries.
‘The museum is a confusing building and its galleries have until now developed piecemeal,’ explains Shelley. ‘A simple and comfortable narrative has been achieved that will help visitors comprehend their distant past.’
The gallery features a 26m-long ‘river wall’, constructed in clear and etched glass and back-lit in blue, with over 450 exhibits from flint and jadeite axes to bronze swords and human skulls.
‘Visibility is key to the gallery, providing visitors with orientation points,’ says Conran & Partners associate Jane Lawrence. ‘A sense of beginning and end is projected allowing visitors to pace themselves.’
The gallery is scheduled to open on 18 October.