University of Cambridge Tour

University of Cambridge Tour

University of Cambridge Tour

Exploring River Cam Stories with Rowan, at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Alison Ayres, Education Assistant at the Fitzwilliam Museum, shares her experience of working with students from Rowan to take inspiration from art work by Gwen Raverat as part of their River Stories project.

Rowan is a Cambridge based charity which provides a creative environment for learning disabled adults. Staff and volunteers provide support in the studios where students can work with wood, ceramic, print, textiles, mixed media, music and drama.

Staff and students from Rowan often visit the University Museums in search of inspiration for their art work, projects and commissions. River Stories is a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, enabling the students to learn about the heritage of the River Cam and create art work in response to their discoveries. Anna Kendrew, a tutor at Rowan, contacted us to ask if the Fitzwilliam Museum has any works on display related to the River Cam, which could be a source of inspiration for the students.

The Fitzwilliam Museum has a large collection of Gwen Raverat’s drawings and wood engravings, many depicting life on and around the River Cam in the first half of the 20th century. These light-sensitive works are on public display but can be seen by appointment, in the Graham Robertson Study Room. I met with Hollie Drinkwater, one of the supervisors for the study room, to choose art work for Rowan’s visits from the Raverat portfolios. We chose 13 original wood engravings and one oil painting of punts on the river. A maximum of 15 people can gain access to the study room at any one time so we booked the room for two mornings to make sure as many of the group as possible could experience the works.

Museums and collections

The University of Cambridge has nine museums and collections which are open to the public throughout the year.


All College chapels are open to the public at select times, and most of the Colleges are also open for visits.

Students live, eat and socialise in one of the University’s 31 autonomous Colleges.

Please note some Colleges charge a small fee for visitors, and access may be limited during term time.