The Box is Plymouth’s new £46 million cultural destination, proudly led by Plymouth City Council in Britain's Ocean City. A museum, gallery and archive. A cafe, shop and bar. A place that you can make your own, and where there's always something new to discover.
The opening of The Box was one of the most significant cultural events in the UK in 2020. Plymouth's former Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library and St Luke's church buildings have been completely transformed with a series of new galleries and exhibition spaces. The Box also features a striking elevated ‘archive in the sky’ with research and learning facilities, food, drink and retail spaces. It's also created a major new public square (Tavistock Place) for performances, events and artistic responses.
Plymouth has a fascinating past and a dynamic present. The Box's collections, programmes and commissions share stories of international and local significance. We also give contemporary artists the opportunity to create new work that responds to our historic collections.
A visit to The Box is an incredible experience. We look forward to welcoming you soon.
To put arts and heritage at the heart of our city and of the South West, transforming people’s lives, creating a place and experience to share our rich and diverse collections and their stories with the world.
To redefine the collections-based institution for the 21st century, expanding its horizons from local to global, placing collections, artists and audiences at its core.
- Confidence to take risks and lead the way as a cultural entrepreneur, whilst also being receptive to shared conversations and collaborations.
- Surprise to delight everyone with unexpected things and exciting encounters at every twist and turn. Big exhibits, little gems and thousands of experiences in-between.
- Play to invite shared growth and personal development through unconventional discovery, diverse activities and creative experiences.
- Intelligence to underpin everything we do with deep research, relentless questions and expertise to widen horizons.
Plymouth City Council owns The Box and St. Luke’s church buildings. The Box facility is operated through a not-for-profit company called Arca (Plymouth) Limited. Arca’s trading name is The Box. It too is owned by the Council.
All the Council’s major collections are curated and conserved within The Box museum and galleries and St Luke’s church, and at other related venues across the City and the wider region.
The Council has also instigated the establishment of The Box Foundation, a charitable company registered with the Charity Commission of England & Wales. The Foundation will achieve its charitable objects through fundraising and grant funding for the activities of The Box.
Our steering committee
- Dafydd Moore, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Plymouth
- David Coslett, Independent
- Deborah Smith, Director, Arts Council Collection
- Hilary Lade, Independent
- Councillor Richard Bingley, Leader of Plymouth City Council (Chair)
- Nigel Godefroy, Director Longhouse Group
- Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of the Opposition, Plymouth City Council (Vice-Chair)
Creating The Box and continuing to welcome visitors to engage with our collections, spaces and activities wouldn't be possible without the generous support of many valued partners, funders and supporters.
To date, The Box has won or been nominated for the following awards:
- Museums + Heritage Awards 2020 – Restoration/Conservation Project of the Year for the Royal Naval Ship’s Figureheads – Winner
- Apollo Awards 2020 – Museum Opening of the Year – Nominee
- British Guild of Travel Writers Awards 2020 – Best UK and Ireland Tourism Project for 'Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy' – Winner
- iESE Public Sector Transformation Awards 2021 – Use of Digital and Technology for ‘The Box on The Box’ – Silver
- National Campaign for the Arts' (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards 2021 – Best Arts Project – Nominee
- Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South West Civil Engineering Awards 2021 - Showcase Award - Winner and People’s Choice Award - Shortlisted
- Museums + Heritage Awards 2021 – UK Exhibition of the Year - Highly Commended and Shop of the Year - Shortlisted
- Constructing Excellence South West Awards 2021 – Integration & Collaborative Working - Winner, Value - Highly Commended and Conservation & Rejuvenation - Highly Commended
- Design Week Award 2021 – Exhibition Design – Shortlisted
- Kids in Museums Family Friendly Awards 2021 – Medium Museum – Shortlisted
- National Lottery Awards - Project of the Year for 'The Box on The Box' - Runner Up
- Insider Media 2021 South West Property Awards - Fit-out/Refurbishment of the Year - Winner
- Local Authority 2021 Building Control Awards - Best Public or Community Building - Winner
- Michelmores 2021 Property Awards – Leisure & Tourism Project of the Year - Winner and Building of the Year – Winner
- Abercrombie Awards 2021 - Best New Building - Winner; Best Public Space - Winner and The Ambercrombie Award for Excellence and Innovation - Winner
- LABC Building Excellence Awards 2021 - Best Public or Community Building - Highly Commended
- European Museum of the Year 2022 - Special Commendation
Equality, diversity and inclusion
The Box puts people at its heart, creating active participants, connecting people with their heritage and creativity, building pride and confidence. We are currently reviewing and updating our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan to ensure that it's fit for purpose and rooted in good practice.
If The Box is to be truly ‘special for everyone’ then we have a responsibiity to not only have the best and most representative work across our galleries and programmes, but to also recognise that how we recruit staff, who our partners are, what we prioritise and how we exercise our influence, all have real impact and effect change.
We are committed to creating a culture in which all those who engage with us are treated with fairness, dignity and respect.
The Box is committed to anti-racism and we are working hard to be an anti-racist organisation.
Working with artists
In our work with artists we innovate and offer fresh perspectives and connections between history and contemporary life.
As part of work to draw up an environmental action plan, we have produced an 'Environmental Snapshot' for 2021. The snapshot gives an idea of our carbon footprint (based on The Box site) so that we can identify changes that will help reduce our footprint in 2022 and onwards.
The Box is committed to shining a light on environmental loss and damage, raising awareness among the communities we serve and establishing ourselves as a catalyst for urgent action.