Museum design inspired home

Bearing the mark of human interaction


I feel I have been very fortunate to work for just over a decade with the Ashmolean Museum’s internationally renowned collection. The Ashmolean is a University of Oxford museum of art and archaeology. Founded by Elias Ashmole in 1683 it is widely recognised as the first modern museum.

The Ashmolean Museum’s permanent galleries and exhibitions tell human stories across cultures and across time.

Parallels can be drawn between the museum and the home environment. Our own homes are full of things we have collected or created over the years. My home is a time capsule of mine and my family’s life story. Everything is of value to us in some way- practical/decoration/historical interest- we either have a connection to or a need for everything in our home. We even have saucepans which were gifted to my husband and I by his mum when we got engaged in 1998 two weeks after we met- that’s connection and need.

I really do just go on feeling when I am buying for the shop (and myself). I must have a connection to it and then I display it in a way that shows how it is special to me- this is where the museum design bit comes in. My hope is that you will be inspired by the way I display pieces and that you feel a connection to or need for the some of them.

I have an eclectic taste and seem to like something from each period in art and design history. This may be because, in my museum exhibition design career, I have design interpreted many different cultures, moments, stories, and artists/art movements. Namely, ancient Egypt, Greece, the Middle East and the devastation of Pompeii contrasting with the displaying of works of the Pre-Raphaelites, Stradivarius, Cezanne, and Warhol. I endeavour to create exhibitions that are playful (when appropriate), elegantly styled, striking, and unexpected- it is important to me that the space provokes a reaction which in turn promotes engagement.

I am therefore drawn to what sparks a reaction and what makes me smile. There are countless items that remind me of an exhibition I have worked on. I find objects of antiquity particularly intriguing – I only wish I had the wallet to buy everything I love! Actually a period I am often drawn to is Art Deco (1920s-30s) which was part influenced by the artefacts of ancient Egypt largely due to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb by Howard Carter in 1922. Indeed, I was lead designer for the Ashmolean’s ‘Discovering Tutankhamun’ exhibition, so it stands to reason why I have a penchant for deco. I purchased a gorgeous Deco standard lamp (SOLD) and classic Deco bookends:

Art Deco style bookends
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