A major new partnership between Exeter’s museum and university has been announced.
Staff from both institutions will work together on research and organise exhibitions and events from the attraction’s ‘world-class’ collections.
The agreement has been signed between the University of Exeter and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery (RAMM).
It means they can continue to join forces to promote knowledge and understanding using RAMM’s artefacts and the university’s academic expertise.
The Memorandum of Understanding will also lead to new training and work experience opportunities for students, who will be able to use the museum’s facilities and collections.
Professor Janice Kay, University of Exeter provost and senior deputy vice-chancellor, said: “This is an exciting new phase of our partnership with RAMM, building on our long-standing relationship.
“We are very proud that Exeter has such a fantastic museum and art gallery and it is a privilege to work with its fantastic staff and collections.
“The partnership agreement allows us to continue developing and running key projects together.
“It allows us to share expertise and facilities and use the region’s excellent history to enhance understanding.”
Councillor Rachel Sutton, portfolio holder for culture and climate on Exeter City Council, said: “The Victorian vision of providing public education and entertainment for all of Exeter’s citizens remains at the heart of the museum’s mission, refreshed and re-presented for the 21st century as ‘Home to a Million Thoughts’.
“This has been the basis of our many successful collaborations with the University of Exeter. The new memorandum will allow us to explore ever more ambitious ways of working together.”
Both the university and the RAMM owe their origins to the Devon and Exeter Albert Memorial Institute; each originally shared the same building in Queen Street.
University of Exeter academics already carry out research using RAMM’s collections and studies are often carried out with international partners.
Academics using the extraordinary collections at the museum as part of their research have digitised thousands of magic lantern slides as part of a pan-European project to protect them for future generations.
Archaeologists are re-analysing RAMM’s collection of artefacts excavated in the 1970s and 1980s to shed new light on Exeter’s history from its Roman legionary fortress to its Tudor city.
Further afield, museum staff and academics are collaborating on a project to create a new app to guide visitors around Renaissance cities such as Trento, Hamburg, Deventer, Valencia and Exeter.
They are also working together with colleagues in India to trace the history behind RAMM’s collection of botanical paintings produced by Indian artists working for the East India Company in the 18th century.