The brand new Royal College of Music museum is now open
The Royal College of Music Museum is now officially open after being kept in envelopes for over a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The museum, located in the Exhibition Road cultural area of South Kensington in London, was built from the ground up as part of RCM’s £ 40million campus transformation project over four years. Since 2017, the iconic Grade II listed South Kensington home has almost doubled in capacity, designed by renowned architect John Simpson. Construction work continued throughout the pandemic, including fitting out and mounting instruments under strict social distancing rules, but the museum’s planned spring opening date in 2021 had to be delayed. The new Royal College of Music Museum offers public access to the heart of the historic institution, alongside a new public café and two new performance spaces.
The museum is intended to be an interactive experience, with regular performances by RCN musicians and the opportunity for visitors to create their own music at the Weston Discovery Center. In addition to musical instruments, the Museum tells its story through art, including an iconic portrait of Farinelli and a remarkable Tischbein featuring an instrument from the collection displayed alongside.
A series of portraits of renowned German artist Milein Cosman will be on display to the public for the first time in the Lavery Gallery, with intimate sketches by RCM alumni Benjamin Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst and Amaryllis Fleming, alongside many other composers and musicians.
There are three key areas – music is creation, music is craft and music is performance – each exploring the phases of the creative process from the birth of a new idea, its realization through craftsmanship, to performance. . In the museum’s magnificent double-height atrium, an installation of suspended artwork by Scottish artist Victoria Morton draws inspiration from the permanent exhibition, having been specially commissioned and created for the space.
Professor Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, Curator of the Royal College of Music Museum and Professor of Material Culture and Music, comments: “The Royal College of Music Museum will be a wonderful addition to London’s cultural scene and I look forward to finally inviting visitors to discover for yourself our original, lively and breathable collection. “
Main picture: © Phil Rowley