River and Rowing Museum

River and Rowing Museum

The River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, is located on a site at Mill Meadows by the River Thames. It has three main themes represented by major permanent galleries, the non-tidal River Thames, the international sport of rowing and the local town of Henley-on-Thames.


The building was designed by the modernist architect David Chipperfield and has won awards for the building itself, including the Royal Fine Art Commission "Building of the Year" award in 1999. It was also UK National Heritage "Museum of the Year" in 1999.

It was officially opened in November 1998 by Queen Elizabeth II. Major benefactors include The Arbib Foundation run by local businessmen Sir Martyn Arbib and Urs Schwarzenbach. In 2004, a "Wind in the Willows" attraction for families was installed. This is a walk-through recreation using models, sets and an audio-guide of all the E.H. Shepard illustrations from the Kenneth Grahame book.

In 2006, the museum completed an extensive refurbishment of its Rowing Gallery, thanks to the generosity of Urs Schwarzenbach. Now known as the "Schwarzenbach International Rowing Gallery" it tells the story of rowing from its beginnings in ancient Greece to the modern Olympics. Thematically arranged the gallery includes sections devoted to the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race, World & Olympic rowing, professional rowing in the 19th and early 20th centuries, boat building, coaching and nutrition. The museum now displays a unique collection of video clips. One of the highlights for visitors to the "Schwarzenbach International Rowing Gallery" is an interactive exhibit "In the Cox's Seat" that allows visitors to sit in a rowing boat and experience a race at Henley Royal Regatta

Temporary exhibitions have included work by the Thames-based painter Chris Gollon, the local 20th century artist John Piper, one of his collaborators, the potter Geoffrey Eastop, and the furniture maker Philip Koomen. In 2006, there was an exhibition by John Piper's grandson, Luke Piper. Between November 2006 and February 2007 there is an exhibition of the illustrations of E.H. Shepard called "The Man who Drew Pooh & Toad".

The museum was one of the first to have a website, which existed before it actually opened [J. P. Bowen and J. S. M. Bowen, [http://www.archimuse.com/mw2000/papers/bowen/bowen.html The Website of the UK Museum of the Year, 1999] . In D. Bearman and J. Trant (eds.), "Proc. Museums and the Web 2000", Minneapolis, USA, 16–19 April 2000. Archives & Museum Informatics, Pittsburgh, USA, 2000.] .


External links

* [http://www.rrm.co.uk/ River and Rowing Museum]
* [http://archive.museophile.org/rrm/ Original website]

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