Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA
Tel: +44 0 1223 330402
Casted from Greatness
The Museum of Classical Archaeology in Cambridge houses one of the last surviving collections of plaster castes of classical Greek and Roman sculpture.
In 1884, the University of Cambridge opened the museum after obtaining the castes for their classics department. Since photography was not yet easily, universities created plaster castes of the originals to study sculptures. When the university acquired a collection of such castes to be used during lectures, they became part of current the Museum of Classical Archaeology.
None of the statues in the museum are originals, but the castes represent two eras of art history: 19th century Europe and classical Rome and Greece. The collection is especially valuable today because many castes were destroyed after falling out of fashion in the 1950s.
For nearly a hundred and fifty years, the museum has provided visitors with a comprehensive look at archaeology and history in classical Grecian and Roman times. Among the most memorable exhibits are the massive Farnese Hercules, the colorful Peplos Kore, and the intricate Temple of Zeus at Olympia.
Because the sculptures are duplicates, museum-goers are offered the rare opportunity to see nearly all the best-known sculptures from the classical world under one roof. This makes the Museum of Classical Archaeology one of the most unique places in the world, let alone Cambridge.
A Talk with Andrew Wallace-Hadrill: Director of Research at the Museum of Classical Archaeology
Family and Adult Events
The museum provides activities for children as well as adults. Family events consist of storytelling and arts and crafts, while adults can take a curator’s tour of the exhibits. Times vary by week and season; call the museum for details.