The Ashmolean, Oxford University

The Ashmolean, Oxford University

Client: The Ashmolean, Oxford
Type of works: supply of a master key system.

One of the most prestigious museums in the country has turned to Abloy when securing its valuable artifacts, as part of a £46 million regeneration project.

Sitting at the heart of Oxford University, The Ashmolean is the most visited museum outside of London with over a million visitors each year.

In 2009 HRH Queen Elizabeth II opened the new building, which was designed by world-renowned architect Rick Mather to compliment the existing 1845 Cockerell Building.

Abloy locks are specified directly from the Museum and Libraries Association’s security guidelines for showcases. Following these guidelines is important to any museum, as it helps qualification for Government indemnity protecting loaned items.

To date over 460 showcases have been fitted with more than 1500 locks as part of a grand masterkey system, incorporating sub-materkeys for different sections of the museum.

The advantage of a masterkey system across a large scale, and diverse project, is that it allows the necessary accessibility for personnel authorised for a given area, while maintaining the security, which is vital.

The showcases used at the museum are all custom made in Belgium by Meyvaert, who ensure that the locks are not visible to the untrained eye. During the manufacturing process for these showcases, eight samples were brought over to the UK and attacked in the same way that a prospective thief might attempt to gain entry.

Henry Kim, Project Director at The Ashmolean, said: “If you are museum that cares about the security of its artifacts, you pretty much specify Abloy locks. We have spent over £5 million on the new showcases and ensuring that they meet the MLA guidelines, along with our own security standards, is an enormous thing for us.”

Sid Clarke, Regional Market Development Manager for Abloy, added: “At The Ashmolean you can see some of the most impressive historical items in the world but, as technology becomes more advanced and thefts continue to occur, it is important to provide a high level of security without detracting from the visitor experience. The system in place at The Ashmolean allows visitors to get close to pieces without the need for an ‘in your face’ locking solution. For Abloy products to be used on such a prestigious project, only further serves to enhance our commitment to providing a market leading solution that can be tailored to any project’s individual requirements.”

Abloy UK supplies a market-leading range of padlocks, electric locks and cylinders for cabinets and doors in retail, leisure and museum environments as well as utilities, telecommunications and military applications.

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