The essential starting point to discover the fascinating history of the City and University
Museums in Oxford
From classical to modern art, to artifacts of natural history collected over three millenia to musical instruments, Oxford museums will suit all tastes. Most have free admission allowing you to drop in for five minutes or a full day if you choose.
Established in 1683, the Ashmolean Museum is the oldest museum in the UK and one of the oldest worldwide. It houses Oxford University’s extensive collections of art and antiquities, ranging back over four millennia. Saturday Highlight Tours led by eduction volunteers are free, with tours of approximately one hour from 11 am. Numbers are limited and places are allocated on the day by tokens available from the information desk from 10am. There’s also a cafe and Museum Shop.
Modern Art Oxford
Founded in 1966, Modern Art Oxford at 30 Pembroke Street, is one of the UK’s most exciting and influential contemporary art spaces with an international reputation for ambitious and innovative projects. Open free of charge to the public, exhibitions and events make contemporary art accessible and engaging to the widest audience through presentation and participation.
University Museum of Natural History
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History on Parks Road houses the University's scientific collections of zoological, entomological, geological, palaeontological and mineralogical specimens, accumulated in the course of the last three centuries. Free admission to all exhibitions allows you to take your time to view the 4.5 million specimens, the largest collection of its type outside of national collections.
Pitt Rivers Museum
The Pitt Rivers Museum (enter through the Oxford University Museum Natural History) is one of Oxford’s most popular attractions, famous for its period atmosphere and outstanding collections of anthropology and archaeology from many cultures around the world, past and present. Curious artefacts, over three floors, are contained in glass display cabinets, including masks, magic, musical instruments and more. Drawers underneath many of the cabinets that can be opened to display more hidden treasures. Admission, exhibitions and events are all free.
Oxford University Press Museum
This small museum on Great Clarendon Street preserves and displays historic books, documents and printing equipment of the Oxford University Press, an international publishing house which is also a department of the University of Oxford. 30 minute tours are by advance appointment only.
Museum of the History of Science
The Museum of the History of Science on Broad Street houses an unrivalled collection of historic scientific instruments in the world's oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the original Ashmolean, built in 1683. Admission is free.
Museum of Oxford
Recently rehoused within the Town Hall on St. Aldate’s Road, the museum is based at the front of the Town Hall. A one hour Town Hall tour (£3 per person) every Wednesday and Saturday at 11am will take you to parts of the Town Hall most people would never get to see. Visit the medieval crypt and admire the William Turner art collection.
Visit the Museum of Oxford's website here
Christ Church Picture Gallery
Christ Church, on Oriel Square, possesses an important collection of three hundred Old Master paintings and nearly two thousand drawings, housed in a purpose-built Gallery of considerable architectural interest in itself. University members have free admission.
Bate Collection of Musical Instruments
Open term time only, the Bate Collection within the Faculty of Music on St. Aldate’s celebrates the history and development of musical instruments of the Western Classical tradition from the medieval period until the present day. The Collection is made available for study and use by scholars, students, makers and players, to enhance the knowledge of the history of music as well as the enjoyment of historic performance for all. Admission is free.
The Bodleian Library on Broad Street was opened in 1602 by Thomas Bodley with a collection of two thousand books. Today, there are more than 9 million items. Daily tours are available each day except Sunday. Children under 11 are not admitted.
The Old Bodleian Library offers free access to the Old Schools Quadrangle, displays in the Proscholium entrance hall and the Bodleian Shop. Admission to the Divinity School is free to members of the University (students and staff), Alumni, Bodleian cardholders and Friends of the Bodleian. Up to four guests will also be admitted free.