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Explore the 4 Best Museums in Cambridge

Cambridge is counted among the most important cities in the world. Situated on the banks of the River Cam in Cambridgeshire, England, the county town of Cambridge has been a significant destination for trade since the times of the Romans and the Vikings.

The city’s appealing streets, botanical gardens, and several other historical buildings welcome tourists to explore its wonders.

Cambridge is also home to the much-esteemed university, the University of Cambridge.

Besides having a rich culture, a long history, the esteemed status of the university city, and many popular things to do, Cambridge is also known for its museums, which are famous all around the world for their precious antique collections.

4 Best Cambridge Museums

With their fine exhibits of artwork and antiquities, museums in Cambridge offer a wonderful learning experience to their visitors.

These museums do not just preserve history within their walls; they are also a part of that history through the development happening in these important buildings.

The museums in Cambridge, or anywhere, in fact, tell stories of what transpired in the past—historical and cultural events that are significant enough to be preserved and remembered by us.

Exhibits at the museums in Cambridge include local collections as well as objects acquired from other countries.

These museums also host exhibitions for local artists to present their work. Entry into most museums in Cambridge is always free.

The University of Cambridge Museums Consortium, which fosters development in the field of conservation and preservation of antiquities, comprises eight museums at the University of Cambridge.

There are a number of must-visit museums in Cambridge, with a wide range of collections focusing on varying fields of study, including archaeology, anthropology, geology, culture, and art.

However, it is difficult, if not impossible, to visit all the museums, so below is a list of the four best museums in Cambridge that should be visited.

1. Fitzwilliam Museum

1.1. History

Considered to be the best museum in the UK, this museum was founded in 1816 for the library and art collections of Richard Fitzwilliam, 7th Viscount Fitzwilliam.

It was built between 1837 and 1843 in a neo-classical style marked by a spiral staircase, and over a long period of time, several additional spaces were also constructed to house the collections later acquired by the museum.

It is located on Trumpington Street, and this museum has exhibitions of extensive collections of historical artworks from Ancient Egypt to Europe.

Fitzwilliam Museum
By Arijeet Bannerjee from Shutterstock

1.2. Collection

The museum contains some of the best collections of modern art in Western Europe among its 500,000 antiquities and artworks.

Some of the best-known collections include antiquities from ancient Egypt and paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

2. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

2.1. History

Located on the Downing Site of the university, this museum was founded in 1884.

Initially, the collections of the museum included objects given by Alfred Maudslay and Sir Arthur Gordon; later, other collections were added, including the objects collected on an 1898 expedition.

2.2. Collection

This museum has vast collections of archaeology, anthropology, photography, and modern and contemporary art.

The collections include coins and artifacts from ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, and China.

3. Museum of Classical Archaeology

3.1. History

The Museum of Classical Archaeology was founded in 1983. Located in the faculty of classics at the university, this museum has one of the largest collections of plaster casts.

3.2. Collection

This museum holds exhibitions of large collections of objects from ancient Rome.

The collections include casts of the Parthenon Marbles and various statues, along with hundreds of other rare plaster casts of the famous Greek and Roman sculptures.

4. Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

4.1. History

The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences is the oldest of the eight museums in the Consortium.

Opened in 1904, the museum’s collections include around two million objects significant to geology, such as minerals and rocks.

4.2. Collection

The collections of this museum include the United Kingdom’s largest collection of meteorites. The museum also houses fossils collected by Charles Darwin.

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences
By inProgressImaging from Shutterstock

The Footnote

Similar to London, the city of Cambridge is adorned with museums of fine architecture and lush green gardens, which complement the city’s scholarly reputation and local history.

The major museums in Cambridge are part of the University of Cambridge. This not only helps in the proper functioning and management of the museum but also, in turn, helps students learn better.

The museums provide the students with world-class collections of historical artifacts related to diverse themes of culture, music, art, science, and technology.

Through these collections, students acquire knowledge of the natural history of subjects and development in their respective fields.

Various museums in Cambridge have exhibitions of instruments and objects relating to advancements in the field of science.

Because of their location and importance, the museums are not just tourist destinations of simple wonder but rather living embodiments of the development of knowledge throughout the history of mankind.

Therefore, when visiting the beautiful university city of Cambridge, one must not miss the opportunity to visit these museums, which have such exquisite collections of history and art.



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