World Conservation
and Exhibitions Centre
Now open

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A grant of £10m from the Heritage Lottery Fund has provided resources to enable the Museum to expand its innovative outreach and public engagement.

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Building of the WCEC

WCEC timelapse - building begins

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Following planning approval in December 2009, demolition work began on the site in April 2010.

Piling to form the basement wall and foundations of the new building was completed in August 2011. Excavation of the basement levels commenced in Autumn 2011 enabling the construction of the levels below ground to begin. The next phase of work saw the formation of the superstructure commence in mid 2012.

The Museum's artist in residence, Liam O’Connor, documented the changing site througout the building process.

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Archaeological discovery at the site of the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

Archaeologists discovered 17th-century features on site in 2010

During Summer 2010, an archaeological excavation of the site was undertaken revealing a number of seventeenth century finds, including a section of London’s Parliamentarian Civil War defence trench.

Ornamental garden features exposed the extent of urbanisation in the area during the late 18th and early 19th century.

Numerous domestic wears, garden walls, wells, planting and bedding paths were unearthed.


The north wall of the garden to Montagu House, a stately home constructed between 1675 and 1679, was revealed. Montagu House was sold to the Trustees of the British Museum in 1754 and opened its doors to the public as the Museum and Library in 1759.


The architects

Architect's impression of the exterior of the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

The new World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) is one of the world’s leading architectural practices. RSHP have won a number of awards including the prestigious Stirling Prize in 2006 for Barajas Airport in Madrid. The practice has offices in London, Sydney, Madrid and Shanghai.

RSHP have completed a number of high profile projects, including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Lloyd’s of London, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff.



At a time of concern for the global environment, RSHP is a leading firm in sustainable architecture. The practice looks to technologies that harness passive energy sources, systems that reduce consumption and regulate harmful emissions, and renewable resources.

RSHP’s approach to environmental issues mirrors the Museum's ambition to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.



Architect's impression of the exterior of the World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre newsletters

Quarterly newsletters are available for members of the local community. Copies are distributed to our immediate neighbours and are displayed in information cases on the site hoarding, as well as being available for download here.