Introducing VERVE

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VERVE is a £1.6 million project that will support vital conservation, refreshment of selected areas of display and much improved case lighting, alongside a wide-ranging programme of free public activities illuminating the ways in which human creativity has driven developments in design and technologies. Download press release

Workshops, special events, educational activities and opportunities for community and volunteer participation will be developed to explore the importance of invention, design and practical craft skills, providing a deeper understanding of the artefacts on display, and incorporating expert commentary from contemporary artisans and makers.

Redisplay work will be carried out on identified cases currently screened off, inaccessible or requiring urgent remedial conservation due to their age. Such work will be carried out sensitively, in keeping with the historical style of the galleries for which the Museum is so well known. The VERVE project will begin in November 2012 with the recruitment of a new six-person project team and will run for five years. The Museum will remain open throughout, including 2013 when our sister museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, will be closed for reroofing.

VERVE represents the third phase of the Museum’s redevelopment, following the opening of its new extension in 2007 and the redevelopment of its entrance in 2009. In 2011-12, the Museum welcomed over 376,000 visitors.

We have already secured substantial additional support from a range of generous funders, including DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund, the Foyle Foundation, and the Museum’s Friends organization, as well as Oxford University itself. We are now seeking to raise the remaining £300,000 required to deliver this exciting new project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund uses money raised through the National Lottery to sustain and transform a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from, and enjoy. Find out more and see previous projects at

The objects below demonstrate human ingenuity and craftsmanship. A recycled Brasso can makes an effective lamp (1966.3.61); the pepperbox pistol (1884.27.88) is an early repeating firearm; an anorak from the Arctic made of seal intestine that is water- and windproof (1908.73.1)

recycled brasso canpepperbox pistolanorak from the Arctic