More about the Time and Space Project

New foyer of the planetariumNew foyer of the planetarium. Image: Allies and Morrison ArchitectsIn response to public demand, the National Maritime Museum is undertaking a £15million project to develop the Royal Observatory.

New galleries, expanded educational resources, a superb new planetarium, better access, and improved visitor facilities including a refreshment facility with views over the Royal Park all add up to the creation of a superb environment in which to explore the wonders of time and space.

Speaking about the project, Astronomer Royal, Professor Martin Rees said:

The new observatory project will bring the excitement of contemporary astrophysics to the UK's oldest astronomical institution. Visitors will better understand and be able to ask fundamental questions about the forces that have shaped our universe and allowed human life to emerge.

The Peter Harrison Planetarium

Artist's impression of the new planetariumArtist's impression of the new planetarium
Image: Allies and Morrison Architects 
The 120-seat planetarium will use the latest technologically advanced solutions to enable visitors to explore space. The planetarium shows will be presented by the Royal Observatory's expert astronomers ensuring visitors get the most from their planetarium visit. The programmes will change regularly to reflect current astronomical events and to suit the various audiences visiting the planetarium.

The planetarium building is distinctive and contemporary, but will blend sensitively with its historic environment.

The building takes the form of an inclined, truncated cone shape and will be clad in bronze, providing an iconic addition to the landscape of Greenwich. It will be fully accessible for all visitors.

Lloyds Register Education Centre

A new education centre will be created within the refurbished South Building, a Victorian Observatory building. The education centre will have teaching spaces, computerized links to the National Schools Observatory and access to remote telescopes around the world. It will greatly-increase the Observatory's capacity to serve the growing demand from schools for accessible facilities for the study of modern astronomy.

New galleries

Harrison's Marine Chronometer (H4)Marine Chronometer (H4) by John Harrison, 1759. Repro ID: D0789_1 ©National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Ministry of Defence Art CollectionThree new galleries in Flamsteed House and the Meridian Building will look at time, its measurement, its uses and its role in our everyday lives.

An additional gallery in the Great Equatorial Building will also house a horology workshop with conservation sessions open to the public.

Find out more about the Time galleries.

Within the South Building, three brand new galleries will explain the ongoing quest to define our place in the universe, explore the ways in which astronomers study space, and interpret recent developments in modern astronomy.

Altazimuth Pavilion

Open to the public for the first time, this refurbished observatory building adjacent to The Peter Harrison Planetarium will provide organised solar viewing sessions for visitors.

Director of the National Maritime Museum, Roy Clare said:

Our project is an imaginative response to public demand. The upgraded facilities will help is to inform, educate and entertain our visitors.

How is the project funded?

The full project cost of £15million has been raised from public, private and corporate sources to pay for these exciting changes to the Royal Observatory. Find out how we did it.