One of the world's most comprehensive and renowned institutions of human history and culture is getting a makeover and you can help.

The British Museum is seeking a design team for a major revamp of its gallery space in central London. The project will reimagine over a third of the museum's galleries, marking a significant milestone in the museum’s masterplan.

This isn’t a typical design contest. Rather than selecting a winning design concept the competition looks to identify a team that can collaborate with the museum and its curators on an ongoing basis.

“The purpose of this competition is to find a team the British Museum can work with on a long-term basis to reimagine its Western Range galleries,” said Russell Torrance, Director of Estates & Capital Projects at the British Museum. “We are looking for a team with the vision and skill to collaborate with us on a hugely significant program of work for our historic buildings and collections, as well as our visitors and staff.”

The first stage of the competition requires teams to submit a standard questionnaire, company information, and a single A1 sheet showcasing their understanding of how a modern museum should look and function. They must also outline their approach to design quality, heritage, sustainability, and innovation.

The winning team will need to create a proposal that balances contemporary vision with respect for the original Smirke building (that’s the museum’s main building), ensuring the facility remains accessible to visitors throughout the renovation process.

The competition will be judged by a panel of ten experts, chaired by George Osborne, chair of the British Museum, including notable figures like Yvonne Farrell, Meneesha Kellay, Mahrukh Tarapor, and Sarah Younger. The panel also includes British Museum trustees Tracey Emin, Charlie Mayfield, and Alejandro Santo Domingo.

“The British Museum is a timeless space that constantly evolves,” Osborne says. “We are calling out for an architectural practice with the imagination, sympathy, and vision to help us rebuild and restore the most famous galleries of the museum.”

The redesign will focus on the museum's western side, which currently houses collections from Ancient Egypt, Greece (including the Parthenon Sculptures), Rome, Ancient Assyria, and the Middle East.

This initiative is part of the museum's broader efforts to modernize and enhance its facilities. It follows the completion of the new Archaeological Research Centre in Reading and the planning approval for a new Energy Centre aimed at phasing out the use of fossil fuels.

The competition is open to design teams worldwide. A public display of the shortlisted proposals will be held this winter.

The British Museum was world’s first national public museum, opening its doors to visitors in 1759 and marking a major milestone in the democratization of knowledge. Today, the British Museum continues to attract millions of visitors annually with its vast collection of artifacts spanning two million years.

Deadline to apply is Friday, June 21. Full details are available here.

Competition documents are available to view here.