Marshall-Tufflex solves historic museum’s exhibition challenge



When Cambridge University’s historic Fitzwilliam Museum required a flexible power delivery system for its temporary exhibition galleries it turned to leading cable management solutions manufacturer Marshall-Tufflex and its MT32 prefabricated modular wiring system.

The Fitzwilliam Museum, founded in 1816, is the principal museum of the University of Cambridge and a leading centre for art historical research and conservation. In addition to permanent galleries, the museum has two galleries for temporary exhibitions. As each exhibition requires a different display layout, the corresponding power supplies have to be regularly reconfigured.

Previously the museum’s in-house facilities team hard wired power cables to plug into floor sockets using extension leads, a costly and time-consuming process. Therefore the museum wanted a flexible power delivery system that also avoided trailing extension leads. Having identified the need for a plug and play, pre-wired underfloor distribution system to supply power, it was Marshall-Tufflex’s MT32 system that ticked all the boxes.

“We looked at a few different plug and play systems but none of them were flush enough to the wall for the display cabinets to be positioned,” said Darren Potter, Chief Technician of Facilities at the Fitzwilliam Museum. “Although each exhibition can take up to two years in the planning with the relevant departments of the museum, when it comes to refurbishing the galleries time is of the essence with no room for error as the opening of pre-publicised exhibitions cannot be postponed.

“We also wanted a simple system in order to adjust the lids to correspond with the plug-in-lengths with ease. We have experienced one change of exhibition so far and ordered extra lengths for this purpose. It’s early days but we are happy with the result and in the longer term we hope to save money as well as time.”


The museum also required trunking that would not only be a good match to the light oak floor (the trunking sits on the floor at skirting level within the gallery) but would also meet Historic England approval as the building and its galleries are Grade 1 listed.

“Marshall-Tufflex’s Sterling Profile in Light Oak was the closest match. We also chose Sterling Profile 3 as it had square edges rather than bevelled ones, making it easier for us to fit the trunking flush into the skirting void behind the wall,” said Darren.

The completed installation complied with the strict specification requirements of the Fitzwilliam Museum and Historic England, providing a cost-effective solution for future layout changes.


Marshall-Tufflex’s MT32 power delivery system and Sterling Profile 3 in Light Oak were supplied by Newey & Eyre, Cambridge.