In June 2000 the Wallace Collection celebrated its first hundred years as a national museum with the opening of an ambitious building project to improve access for visitors.
The Centenary Project, very generously funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Mr and Mrs Joe Lewis and other donors, aimed to increase our visitors’ understanding and enjoyment of the Wallace Collection, and to encourage wider audiences to discover our wonderful works of art.
The architect Rick Mather developed a scheme to create 30% more public space in the neglected basement and courtyard of Hertford House, by creating a glazed roof over the courtyard, as well as a completely new Lower Ground Floor.
The project has had a dramatic impact on what we can offer our visitors. Since 2000 there have been four new galleries (Reserve Collection Gallery, Conservation Gallery, two Temporary Exhibition Galleries), a Study Centre (Lecture Theatre, Meeting Room, Education Studio, Visitors’ Library and two Archive Rooms) and a Sculpture Garden used in the daytime as a restaurant and in the evenings for corporate events.
In these fully accessible new areas our visitors can discover more about the Collection through demonstrations, art workshops, object-handling sessions, lectures and the use of new technology.