Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB
Tel: +44 0 1223 332900
Britain’s Greatest Little Museum
A visit to Cambridge isn’t complete without a trip to the Fitzwilliam Museum, one of the oldest and most widely renowned exhibitions in the city. It boasts over half a million works of art ranging from 2500 BC to modern day.
The museum is a result of Richard VII Viscount Fitzwilliam’s generous donation of paintings, books, and music to the University of Cambridge in 1816. It was Viscount Fitzwilliam’s final wish for Cambridge University to have its own museum, one that would stand-out both in art and scholarship. Today the Fitzwilliam serves as a place of learning as well as one of the most impressive university art galleries of its kind.
With its towering columns and neo-classical design, the building itself is one of Cambridge’s most recognizable landmarks. The Fitzwilliam Museum is just a short walk from town centre and the River Cam, so this famous museum on Trumpington Street is a must-see for any visitor.
The fine art collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum is as diverse as it is expansive, ranging from Paleolithic drawings to postmodern sculptures. The Fitzwilliam’s collection of paintings, sketches and prints is one of the finest in Britain. Paintings by Rubens, Monet, Breughel, and Picasso represent just a few of the art works on display.
The museum has an entire section dedicated to rare coins and medals discovered around the world. One display hosts a collection of over 750 coins used by tenth-century Vikings. Visitors can trace the history of coins up through the modern age, concluding with an exhibit on western influence on currency over the past 200 years.
The Fitzwilliam also boasts one of the UK’s largest antiquity collections outside of London. Highlights include a Roman sarcophagus, a bust of the messenger god Hermes, and (perhaps the strangest exhibit in the museum) a Roman “Swiss Army Knife”.