Page last updated at 09:11 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Oldest museum to shut its doors

Ashmolean Museum (pic courtesy of
The Ashmolean was founded by Oxford University in 1683

Culture-seekers have one day left to visit the UK's oldest public museum - Oxford University's Ashmolean - before it closes its doors for nearly a year.

The 325-year-old visitor attraction will be shut to the public from 23 December for a 61m revamp.

Once refurbished, the museum will have 39 new galleries, a new education centre and Oxford's first rooftop cafe.

Construction work began in 2006 and is funded with support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Linbury Trust.

It has had a minimal impact on visitor access to the collections on display, but in 2009, builders will need to undertake the major work of constructing a new front entrance.

From 23 December, there will be no access to the museum or its cafe, although the shop will remain open for business.

The new building, designed by award-winning architect Rick Mather, is set to open in November 2009.

The Ashmolean, which was founded in 1683, features collections covering a wide range of cultures from early Egyptian to Italian Renaissance and 20th Century European art.

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