Project information

Home to a Million Thoughts

To totally rejuvenate one of England's finest museums, which is home to 1.5 million amazing objects and attracts over 200,000 visitors a year. This project will restore the Victorian architectural heritage and improve access to the adjacent Roman walls and gardens which date from Norman times

September 2010 - December 2011

Charity information: Royal Albert Memorial Museum Development Trust

Royal Albert Memorial Museum Development Trust
  • Need


    The problem is three fold: to improve and restore a historic museum which is in need of change to be fit for the demands of the 21st Century.
    To improve access to the museum, to the Roman walls and the historic gardens.
    To ensure that RAMM's collections are re-displayed to the highest standards.


    The RAMM Development Trust has an ambitious plan which will provide a comprehensive solution. The museum's access will be improved and the building restored to improve environmental standards. Innovative use of display techniques will enable more of the collections to be shown, to better effect and to provide more educational opportunities. The public realm will be dramatically upgraded to highlight the beauty of the built and environmental heritage and make accessible the Roman walls.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Develop the use of RAMM's greatest asset - the collections


    » Improve all display areas to the highest standard.
    » Generate more interest in the collections by developing our existing partnerships and building new ones

    Success will be indicated by exceeding 200,000 visitors per year, who will be invited to give feedback about the collections in order to improve our rotating displays

    Aim 2

    Create a living museum - to invigorate and inspire


    » Build on the success of our award winning education service with a wider range of learning opportunities, thanks to the easier to access collections
    » Our holistic approach brings together natural environment, built heritage, archaelogy. Everyone will feel civic ownership and a sense of place.

    Success will be meeting the demands of the 21 century visitor - student, child, researcher - and evaluating how RAMM has increased the individual learning and enjoyment experience.

    Aim 3

    Improve our welcome to everyone


    » A dramatically better environment, through a new entrance and the public realm.
    » The warmest welcome from our team in a new reception, complemented by sustainable appraoch to our cafe.

    Success will be demonstrated by regular visitor satisfaction surveys.
    The aim is to meet and exceed the survey targets.

    Aim 4

    Increase understanding of RAMM as a heritage building itself


    » Interpretation of the collections will be complemented by better information displayed about the building and its own history.
    » The highest level of design, service and public art will be incorporated into our development project, to showcase the 'Venetian Casket' that is RAMM.

    Success is having a greater range of people who will visit and appreciate the total environment improved as an integral part of RAMM's development.

  • Impact


    'Home to a Million Thoughts' project will improve the public realm (Roman walls, Norman gardens and Queen St) and the conservation and presentation of the collections. The museum's development plans are vitally important to the City Council's regeneration of the Castle Quarter of Exeter. RAMM's income generation plans will be made more sustainable with these better facilities; success will be shown by bringing in funding through the new services to enhance the museum.


    There is a risk that a partner funding for certain aspects of the project will not be forthcoming. We have managed this by preparing contingency plans: where risk is identified we will progress the affected element of the project on a reduced funding base, to avoid the whole project being jeopardised. We have also undertaken plans for income generation, to make the best use of the public investment.


    Funders to the project will be able to visit the RAMM site as it progresses, to hear from the team involved in the development and to learn how their investment makes a difference to the museum. We will also ensure we meet the criteria funders set, and report in writing as required.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £3,000,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £3,000,000 Creating a 21st century museum redeveloping our wonderful Victorian museum for the century

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Heritage Lottery Fund £9,400,000 Guaranteed
    Exeter City Council £5,900,000 Guaranteed
    Revenue Savings £172,000 Guaranteed
    Fundraising £818,000 Guaranteed
    Capital receipts £550,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    RAMM is located in Exeter, Devon.


    Over 200,000 visitors every year will benefit, from across a wide demographic. We will also reach out to the schools across Devon and to communities of the sub-region (Beyond Devon, into west Somerset and Dorset). Young people will learn new skills and increase their confidence. Older people will have more opportunities to access and enjoy the collections.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The RAMM Development Trust knows RAMM as a museum intimately. The Trust has 16 years experience of advocating and fundraising for the museum, bringing together a range of individuals who care passionately about heritage, the arts and culture.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Claire Gulliver

    Claire is the Renaissance Project Manager and has experience of making museums more accessible and welcoming to visitors.

    Camilla Hampshire

    Camilla is the Museums Manager and will lead the development of the improved RAMM, championing the value of the museum.