|The Lister Project|
|Monday, 03 June 2013|
The £4.2m Lister Project would allow the College to develop as a public learning space while maintaining its primary role as a self-funding, charitable body for professional education.
In recent months, the RCSEd has released exciting visuals of the architectural designs showing how the project would transform the Museum into a major learning space and visitor attraction.
Talking about why the project is relevant to the College’s 20,000 Fellows, Members, and Affiliates, Director of Heritage, Chris Henry explains: “The project protects and expands the College’s heritage assets. It will improve any member’s visit by providing easy access to the buildings and will build upon the reputation of the College and preserve the stories and work of Fellows and Members. The new museum will act as the collective memory of the institution.
“The museum is one of the only publically accessible spaces within the College in which the whole story of the institution and the history of surgery is explained. It plays an essential role in promoting the role of surgeons and members of the College. It will act as an educational facility, forum and PR vehicle, helping to promote greater public awareness on medical matters.”
Fundraising is well underway with £350,000 of the £1.6m target already raised. Of this, Fellows and Members have raised £200,000, in addition to generous donations from The Binks Trust of £100,000 and The Wolfson Foundation of £50,000.
The project seeks to provide access via the College’s front entrance and one of the key elements proposed is a new entrance and link building to make the world-renowned collections more accessible. Chris explains why this aspect of the development is needed: “The College Museum has long suffered from poor public access to the site. Visitors normally enter the building through the main entrance, but are redirected to Hill Square and enter the museum by climbing the back stairs to the Museum.”
The new link building can also act as a vibrant forum/atrium space introducing the visitor to the 500-year history of the College. The upper floor of the Pathology Museum will be freely open to all visitors for the first time.
Techniques used in the display of museum collections have developed hugely in recent decades and, given that RCSEd’s Museum has not been upgraded since the early 1990s, the project promises to bring a dramatic improvement. “The Museum has not been able to tell the story of developments in the late twentieth and twenty first centuries,” says Chris. “It will benefit from new developments in display technology and an update of display themes to cover new topics and issues.”
A new feature will be a nineteenth century-style anatomy theatre in which guests will interact with the collections using state-of-the-art technology. Other aspects of this unique project include restoring the outer stonework of the building façade, to preserve the original 1832 design of Sir William Playfair. New archive, storage and research facilities will also be part of the development.