Established in 1960, the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London, is a leading authority on the British Army and its impact on society past and present. Through the collections, it preserves and shares the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary responsibilities, exploring the role of the army and its relevance today. The museum has been closed to the public for the past 3 years whilst undergoing a £23.75m major refurbishment, including £11.5 million from the National Lottery.
Focus Consultants were appointed as project managers, quantity surveyors and CDM coordinators for the redevelopment. In addition to this the team also carried out a fire safety risk assessment during the final stages of the development.
The redevelopment was on a large scale, including an extension to provide a new entrance hall, a complete redesign of the layout to allow the galleries to more accessible, an education suite and the addition of an atrium area which allows natural light to flow through the museum.
In the new permanent thematic galleries – Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight – over 2,500 objects are on display, two thirds of which are on public display for the first time. Notable objects include Marengo (the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse), the robes and dagger worn by Lawrence of Arabia and a 375-year-old warrant signed by Charles I symbolising the beginning of the English Civil War. The museum’s extensive collection of 1.3 million objects includes: 70,000 prints and drawings, 55,000 printed books, 3670 maps and charts and 80,000 pieces of uniform.
The reopening was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen, who paid a royal visit on the 16th of March, marking the 3rd time she has opened the museum in its 57-year history. Notably it is the only national museum in the country to have a Royal Charter.