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Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Lighting Refurbishment Project – Completed 2014

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History houses precious scientific collections of zoological, entomological and geological specimens, widely known for its amazing displays of fossils and dinosaurs. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the dodo, and the swifts in the tower. The Museum itself is a Grade 1 listed building, renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture.

Monard was the main contractor for the main court's lighting refurbishment, responsible for a major upgrade of the existing perimeter lighting plus the installation of new architectural lighting for the newly-refurbished cast iron and glass roof.

We worked closely with Robert Gregg of University Estates Services and Zumtobel throughout the design process, as well as a joint project developing a system of unique bespoke magnetic mounts for fixing luminaries to the iron pillars, working closely with the Ashmolean Museum.

While the interior scaffolding was in place for work on the glass roof, the delicate cabling operation took place. Cables were sensitively placed so they wouldn’t interfere with the fabric of the building, while still providing enough power to illuminate the vast interior spaces.

Now the museum now has a state-of-the-art DALI lighting control system. It lets museum staff set different lighting according to the time of day, and for different events and exhibitions. The controls can be activated via mobile devices, making it effortless for staff to magically illuminate the museum at the swipe of a finger.

Photography: Redshift Photography

Praise for Monard’s work

Here’s what some of the people involved said about our involvement in the project.

“We could not have achieved this without the obvious commitment, passion and pride in the project displayed by the whole team, and I illustrate this with just one example – 4000 wiring terminations on the project and not a single, solitary loose connection or fault – extraordinary”

Robert Gregg, OUES Electrical Engineer

“I would like to express my gratitude for the professional way in which the Monard team managed and carried out this project. With Monard’s wealth of experience working in heritage environments, the team showed the sensitivity and awareness needed when working in a museum and a Grade 1 listed building.”

Professor Paul Smith, OUMNH Museum Director

“It was a pleasure to work with Monard in developing the innovative and creative lighting solution finally achieved in what is such a unique iconic building within Oxford. Working within a Grade 1 listed building with such a rich tapestry of history, has without doubt been an excellent experience and learning opportunity for all concerned. The final result would not have been possible if hadn’t been for the pride, passion and attention to detail shown by the entire Monard Team, hence the final result is second to none
and one for which they should all truly be proud”

Steve Downie LSC (Dipl.). Lighting Solutions Consultant, Zumtobel Lighting Limited

In the press

Check the project out in the press: