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Our Mission

It is our mission to touch people’s lives by engaging powerfully, thoughtfully and pleasurably with as wide a public as possible and to produce and promote innovative, relevant, and interdisciplinary research of the highest quality around our collections.

The Fitzwilliam Museum is widely considered the world’s outstanding university art collection. We care for works of art and material culture from Europe, Egypt and Asia of exceptional international importance, works that connect people across cultures and time. Founded in 1816 ‘for the increase of learning’, the Fitzwilliam has long been both a great public cultural asset and an extraordinary scholarly resource – local, regional, national and global. The Museum is also a place of enormous potential; we must now build on our achievements, bringing them together in ways that will be truly transformational.

All our work begins with the people who experience our great collections. Through our displays and public programmes, we provide opportunities to discover major works by some of the most famous artists of all time, as well as an abundance of objects documenting lives that otherwise went largely unrecorded. The Fitzwilliam has other extraordinary assets: our remarkable record of pioneering research and, just as important, of innovative public engagement. The passionate loyalty of the Museum’s current visitors matches the energy and talent of our expert and committed workforce. We are proud of our striking Grade-I listed buildings from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with some of the finest museum interiors in Britain. These features of our appearance and tradition that make us so special for so many will be the starting blocks for our future initiatives.

Now we must successfully engage a much broader and more diverse audience, and develop our collections in ways that better reflect the backgrounds and interests of all our visitors. Simultaneously, the Fitzwilliam is poised to develop its relationship with the rest of the University of Cambridge and its great resource of enquiring minds. By fully unifying our public benefit roles and our collaborative research activity, we will play an ever more crucial role in the University of Cambridge’s mission to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. To make this possible, we must develop robust systems of revenue generation to support our operating costs and to reflect our growing ambitions.

The Mission of the University of Cambridge

The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

Core values

The University's core values are as follows:

  • freedom of thought and expression
  • freedom from discrimination
  • Education
  • the encouragement of a questioning spirit
  • an extensive range of academic subjects in all major subject groups
  • quality and depth of provision across all subjects
  • the close inter-relationship between teaching, scholarship, and research
  • strong support for individual researchers as well as research groups
  • residence in Cambridge as central to most courses
  • education which enhances the ability of students to learn throughout life

The University's relationship with society

  • the widest possible student access to the University
  • the contribution which the University can make to society through the pursuit, dissemination, and application of knowledge
  • the place of the University within the broader academic and local community
  • opportunities for innovative partnerships with business, charitable foundations, and healthcare
  • concern for sustainability and the relationship with the environment

The Collegiate University

  • the relationship between the University and the Colleges as fundamental to the nature of Cambridge
  • the interdisciplinary nature of the Colleges as a major stimulus to teaching and learning
  • the enhanced quality of experience for students and staff through College membership

University staff

  • recognition and reward of the University's staff as its greatest asset
  • the encouragement of career development for all staff

Other activities

  • the opportunities for broadening the experience of students and staff through participation in sport, music, drama, the visual arts, and other cultural activities

The Fitzwilliam Museum Syndicate

Local governance is undertaken by the Syndicate of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

As at October 2021 the Syndics are:

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