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We're thrilled to announce the completion of our 7-year programme of restoration which has fully returned the Museum to the original design of our founder Sir John Soane. From tomorrow (Tuesday 13 September 2016) new spaces completed as part of the programme can be seen by visitors for the first time.
This milestone follows the end of the third and final phase of our £7million Opening up the Soane (OUTS) project, which has recreated a number of key ‘lost’ spaces in the Museum. These are the Lobby to the Breakfast Room, the Catacombs and the Basement Ante Room. Also revealed for the first time is our second temporary exhibition space – the Foyle Space - which opens with a display celebrating the completion of the OUTS project, as well as the house’s kitchens – where Soane’s servants worked. These Regency-era kitchens feature what is believed to be the oldest surviving patented kitchen range in the world, and until 28 January 2017 will host Below Stairs, an installation of contemporary design for London Design Festival.
With the completion of Opening Up the Soane, 365 objects from our collection have been put back on public display for the first time since Soane's death in 1837. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and many other generous donors.
We are also delighted that the Museum now has full step-free access, and our brand new signage and Museum Plan will ensure easier navigation for visitors.
Bruce Boucher, Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum says; ‘This is a momentous day in the history of the Soane Museum. Our extensive restoration work over the past seven years has reinstated all of Soane’s spaces which were lost over the decades following his death – many of them thought to be lost forever. Now, following the completion of this third and final phase of Opening Up the Soane, visitors can experience the Museum as fully as Sir John Soane intended’.
The new spaces from Phase 3 are:
Lobby to the Breakfast Room – Now returned to its original size, this area contains almost 100 works of art - five times more than before the restoration.
Apollo Recess – This has been remodelled by reconstructing a missing wall that previously separated the space from a later addition known as the New Picture Room. Its reconstruction restores the integrity of the Dome Area, the space that forms the heart of the Museum.
The Foyle Space – This new space will be dedicated to changing exhibitions.
Catacombs – Restoration of this sepulchral space allows visitors to see Soane’s evocative collection of Roman cinerary urns and vases. The room is atmospherically lit through a star-shaped opening in the floor of the newly restored Lobby above.
Kitchens – These are the front and back kitchens, where Soane’s servants prepared food for the house. Original fixtures include the 1812 range from the back kitchen, thought to be the oldest surviving patented kitchen range in the world, and a dresser designed by Soane in 1812-13.
Basement Ante Room – originally the Butler’s Pantry, the 2016 restoration reopens the original doorway and returns artworks to Soane’s original display.
Want to see the new spaces? Admission is free and part of a regular visit. Plan your visit now.