Welcome back , you are logged in

Gallery 20 will be closed until Friday 24th March for an event

F.R. Rowley

F.R. Rowley

Frederick Richard Rowley (1868-1939)

Frederick Richard Rowley was the second son of William Jepson Rowley of Bridgnorth, Shropshire and was educated in Hereford. In 1882, at the age of about 14, he was taken to Leicester where he became sub-curator of the museum. Rowley held first-class certificates for geology, botany with a strong knowledge of zoology and photography. He worked at the museum for twenty years and regularly lectured at the city’s Institution.

Rowley and RAMM

Rowley held the post of curator at RAMM for 32 years. A report in the daily gazette on 26 November 1921 recorded that RAMM’s governors unanimously agreed that he ‘was in every respect the best man to be appointed’.

Rowley’s Saturday evening lectures on the collections and natural history in general were said to be so popular and engaging that there wasn’t always enough room for everyone. They included titles such as ‘Microscopic Life in Ponds and Streams’ (March 3rd, 1909) and ‘Life in Antarctic Regions’ (March 22nd, 1922).

Rowley’s passion, dedication to the collections and receptivity to new museum practice helped RAMM to become the exceptional museum that it is today. The Express and Echo reported in 1939 ‘He found the museum a conglomerate of unrelated objects. He left it in 1934 one of the best arranged of provincial museums’. As a result of this incredible contribution to RAMM a gallery was named in his honour (now known as gallery 22).

Securing important collections

During his time as curator, Rowley secured several important collections for RAMM – Miss JE Linter’s land snail shell collection and CVA Peel’s collection of big game, to name but two.

Rowley and the wider museum and scientific community

In 1908 Rowley was elected to the Council of the Museums Association, and he later became editor of the society’s journal. His commitment to improving curatorial expertise and practise was demonstrated through his frequent contributions to the journal including ‘Methods of Exhibiting Coins’ and ‘Some recent work in the Exeter Museum’. Rowley’s success as a Curator was due to his deep knowledge of the profession, his talent for communication and passion for improving collections and allowing access to them. During the 1925 annual conference held in Exeter he was elected to be President; a considerable honour.

In 1912, Rowley joined the Devonshire Association and was later chair of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society and Exeter Preservation Society. He was also a very active member and lecturer of the Torquay Natural History Society and president of Exeter University Field Club and Natural History Society and the South West Naturalists Union.

Rowley and RAMM today

A wonderful example of Rowley’s curatorial work can still be seen in Sladen’s Study today. He was responsible for arranging and mounting the Percy Sladen’s collection of Echinoderms (starfish and sea urchins). He also chose to include a set of wax models made by the Ziegler studio to illustrate their complex and unusual developmental stages, which demonstrates his desire to deepen visitors’ experience and understanding of the collections. A microscope believed to have belonged to FR Rowley is also displayed in Sladen’s Study.

An image of Rowley was also included in the Life Through the Lens exhibition in 2012.

Terms & Conditions

These terms and conditions (Terms) apply to the entire contents of this website. Please read these Terms carefully before using this website. Using this website indicates that you accept these Terms. If you do not accept these Terms, please do not use this website.
  1. These Terms shall constitute an agreement between you and us and shall set out the conditions upon which you may access the information available on this website
  2. We reserve the right to change these Terms, at any time and to notify you by posting an updated version of these Terms on this website, at which point they will become immediately effective
  3. Your continued use of this website after any changes referred to in clause 2 shall constitute your consent to such changes
  4. Access to this website may be suspended temporarily and without notice in the case of system failure, maintenance or repair, or for reasons beyond our control
  5. We reserve the right to, without notice, withdraw the availability of this website or any of its content and/or any of its functions, information or services
  6. We cannot guarantee uninterrupted and/or reliable access to this website and we make no guarantees whatsoever as to its operation, functionality or otherwise
  7. You are allowed to view, download and print out content from this website for personal use only in accordance with these Terms. All other copying whether electronic, hard copy or other format is prohibited and all other rights are reserved
  8. You shall only use this website in a manner that is consistent with these Terms and in such a way as to comply with all applicable laws and regulations and in particular, that you shall not (or not attempt to):
    • seek unauthorised access to our network or computer system
    • insert or knowingly or recklessly transmit or distribute a virus into our network and computer systems
  9. All copyright and all other intellectual property rights existing in this website (including, but not limited to, all design, text, graphics and the selection or arrangement thereof) are and remain our property
  10. The expression 'copyright' shall include the entire copyright, design right, rental right, right to authorise or prohibit lending and data right subsisting now or created at any time
  11. While we endeavour to ensure that the information contained on this website is accurate, complete and up-to-date, we make no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for purpose of such information
  12. We make no representations or warranties, whether express or implied, that this website or any software of any nature available on, downloaded or otherwise obtained from it, will be free from defects or viruses. Your use of this website is at your own risk
  13. We make no representations or warranties as to whether the information available on this website complies with the regulatory regime of countries from which the pages of this website may be accessed
  14. We may log your IP address (which indicates the location of your computer on the Internet) for the purpose of systems administration and troubleshooting.
  15. If you provide your e-mail address in order to submit an enquiry, comment or request for further information, we may contact you regarding your enquiry, comment or request. We may also send e-mails to you about the services that we offer.
  16. From time to time we may provide your information to our marketing or IT departments for research and analysis purposes so that we can monitor and improve the services we provide. We may occasionally contact you by post, email or telephone to ask you for your feedback and comments on our services.
  17. The failure by us to insist on any occasion upon performance of these Terms shall not thereby act as a waiver of such a breach or an acceptance of any variation of these Terms
  18. A person who is not a party to these Terms may not enforce any of its terms or conditions under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
  19. These Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in all respects in accordance with the Laws of England