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Green light for Natural History Museum’s Reading centre

The Natural History Museum (NHM) has appointed Mace as its preferred main contractor to build a new 25,000m2 Collections, Research & Digitisation Centre at Thames Valley Science Park in Reading.

Subject to planning permission, which has recently been submitted to Wokingham Borough Council, the Museum will begin constructing – in 2024 – a sustainable new facility at Thames Valley Science Park, the innovation campus of the University of Reading in Shinfield.

By 2031, the centre will be operational, equipped with cutting edge laboratories, space for Museum scientists and purpose-built storage for 28 million specimens. Transporting these specimens to Shinfield will be as big as any move of natural history specimens globally.

Gareth Lewis, Mace’s CEO for Construct said: ‘We’re very proud to have been appointed to deliver this landmark scientific facility on behalf of the Natural History Museum. Together with our supply chain we will be raising the bar on sustainability and apply the latest digital thinking to deliver the project to the highest quality and safety standards.’

Housed at the new centre in bespoke storage will be the Museum’s collections of mammals, non-insect invertebrates (such as corals, crustaceans, molluscs and worms), fossilised mammals and invertebrates, molecular collections and micropalaeontology.

The facility will also include an imaging and analysis centre including digitisation suites; state-of-the-art molecular biology laboratories including ancient DNA labs; cryo-facilities for tissue storage; conservation labs; and specimen preparation labs including quarantine facilities.

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