If you’ve been past the Museum of Natural History, or visited the Pitt Rivers Museum lately, you may have noticed the approach to our beautiful building is looking a bit messy.
Our lawn and surrounding area is undergoing a large landscaping project over the coming months and should be looking lovely and welcoming in time for our re-opening next year. The driveways alongside the Museum are being freshly tarmacked and the paths are being laid with granite blocks, which will have it looking very smart.
Designs have taken inspiration from the original Victorian layout, with the lawn now cut back into an elegant curved shape, creating a dramatic approach to the building. The Victorian railings that ran along the front wall were removed during World War 2 and
believed to have been melted down to help the war effort, but some smart new replicas have now been installed in their place.
A more high tech approach has been taken to address the problem that we face each year with the lawn. Because part of the Radcliffe Science Library sits just inches below the grass, the soil is very thin, which means that drought and sun quickly cause the lawn to go very brown. If you’ve visited in summer, you will have seen a strange pattern; half of the lawn remains green while the half with the library hidden below is a crispy brown. A modern irrigation system is due to be put in place, keeping the grass green and lush ready for picnics all summer long. But you will also be pleased to know that there will be benches installed too, in case the ground is a bit soggy!
The outside environment will be much more pleasant and green, with trees planted in the paved area and enlarged flower beds next to the Museum. These additional plants will provide sustenance for our colony of bees and other pollinators. We also hope it will make the space an ideal relaxation spot after a long day exploring the Museum!
So we apologise for our currently scruffy exterior and any mud that you may find on your shoes, but hopefully when we reopen in 2014, it won’t just be the inside that’s looking its best, but the outside will be worthy of admiration, too.
Rachel Parle, Education Officer