Oxford’s natural history museum to close for restoration

Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History is to close for the whole of 2013 for restoration to the leaking glass roof. The project will cost about £2.1 million.

The decision to go ahead with the restoration comes after successful work on part of the roof, which also improved the lighting in the dinosaur section below. During the restoration ornate metal work will also be cleaned.

The university has received a grant of £150,000 from the Wolfson Foundation and the rest of the cost will be covered by the repair and maintenance budget.

About 600,000 people visit the museum a year and during its closure there are plans to take some of the collection directly to schools and village halls in the neighbourhood.

It will be possible to reach the Pitt Rivers Museum sited at the back of the Natural History Museum during the closure and researchers will still have access to the collection.

The museum houses the university’s scientific collection of zoology, entomology, geology and minerals. The neo-Gothic building dates back to the mid-19th century. One of the key debates in the history of evolutionary biology took place in the museum in 1861.