Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

Friendly and stimulating… expanding space and minds

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) was built over a 30-year period in the 19th Century, to house the museum along with a school of arts, a school of science and a library.

Every element of the original institution grew and flourished, until the building was full to bursting point.

140 years on, RAMM turned to BAM to help it progress into the 21st Century, with an ambitious ten-year redevelopment programme.

Project details

  • Main contractor: BAM Construction Ltd
  • Architectural designer: Allies and Morrison
  • Exhibition designers: Ralph Appelbaum Associates
  • Project manager and quantity surveyor:  Focus Consultants UK Ltd
  • Structural and services engineers: Building Design Partnership
  • Construction design management: Northcroft
  • Exhibition fit-out: Benbow Group

View related projects

2012 Fact icon winner of the Museum of the Year Award
174 Fact icon pieces of timber made up the frame for the extension, crafted in Austria
600,000 Fact icon visitors come to the Museum each year
36 Fact icon months between June 2008 and June 2011 to complete the complex programme of work

Protecting and celebrating the past

The driving ideas behind the programme are to make visiting the museum a better, more friendly experience, as well as to protect the collections and improve the displays.

The museum wanted to make it easier for visitors to get around the building: with a new café and learning suite, as well as a better shop.


Restoring the old…

Galleries have been refitted. Victorian architectural features were uncovered and restored to their full glory.

Often the redevelopment work was painstaking: removing stone walls piece by piece, in some cases and photographing each stone to ensure it was rebuilt exactly.

BAM put back in arch doorways and other features that had been worn away by time.

…celebrating the new

But space in the old building was still too tight. So central to the refurbishment is a dramatic new extension, featuring a pedestrian bridge that connects to the visitor route along the Roman city wall.

State-of-the-art internal environmental control technology allows both the refurbished and new build elements of the building to react to changes in temperature.

So world class touring exhibitions can now be staged at the museum, including works by Renoir and Canaletto.