Museum of Oxford

Children in Explore Oxford using our interactive bike ride
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Visit the Museum of Oxford’s permanent Explore Oxford galleries at the front of Oxford Town Hall to discover the story of Oxford and its people.

The Museum also offers an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions and events. Based in the Town Hall Gallery, Gallery Corridor and Old Museum contemporary event space, these range from exhibitions by local artists to exhibitions curated by local community groups.

The Museum's Explore Oxford galleries are the only museum exhibition, in a city of world-class museums and heritage offers, to tell the story of Oxford and its people.

Explore Oxford presents our city's past and present in two dramatically different spaces:

Explore the past - Walk into City Engineer, William White's office and step back into 1897 when the current Town Hall was first opened. Rummage through William White's desk drawers to find out what the City Engineer at Oxford Council was working on, check out his drawing table and get an insight into how much Oxford has changed since it was founded around 810 AD.

Explore the present - Continue into the modern Oxford Gallery and take a virtual high-speed bike ride. The four bike rides take you north, south, east and west from the Town Hall taking in the city's highlights as well as to places you don't normally get to see, including BMW's MINI plant.

On your journey, you will meet a wealth of Oxford characters who will tell you the story of the city, including:
•Tamesibugus (150 AD) a Roman Potter who worked near modern Headington,
•David and Licoricia (1200s) Jewish residents of Oxford whose house almost certainly stood on the site of the Town Hall,
•John Davenant (1570-1622) Mayor of Oxford and master vintner who ran the Crown Inn on Cornmarket Street,
•Sarah Jane Cooper (1848- 1932) wife and business partner of Frank Cooper – makers of the world-famous Cooper's Oxford Marmalade.

Venue Type:

Museum, Gallery

Opening hours

Mon - Sat 10:00-17:00 Last entry at 16:30
Sat 1000 -1700 Last entry 1630

Closed: Sundays and Public Holidays

Admission charges

FREE ADMISSION

Discounts

  • Museums Association

Additional info

School Resource Packs; Language School Work Sheets; Themed drop-in activities and special event days for all the family. Held during the school holidays.

The Museum of Oxford is the only museum that is dedicated to the history of the City and University. For more than a thousand years, Oxford has played a central role in English History.

Before the first student took his first lesson at the University, saints walked here, kings were crowned here and parliaments debated here. Situated closed to the heart of England and connected directly with London via the Thames, Oxford has long been an alternative capital city.

The story of Oxford is vividly brought to life through original artefacts, college treasures, and local characters. The Museum is the essential starting point for any visit to the city.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Industry, Literature, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Social History, Toys and Hobbies, Weapons and War

Key artists and exhibits

  • Alice in Wonderland; Lewis Carroll; Siege of Oxford; Jan Wyck; Oxford University; Morris Motors; William Morris; Victorian Oxford; Temporary Exhibitions;Medieval Oxford; Civil War in Oxford
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Assembly room in the Town Hall being used as a hospital ward during WW1, beds are laid out across the room, soldiers are sitting in or beside their beds

Oxford's Great War

  • 16 July — 8 October 2016 *on now

Date: 16th July 2016 - 8th October 2016
Monday - Saturday
Location: Gallery, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Cost: FREE

An exhibition about the experiences of Oxford people during WW1.
Photographs, documents, oral history and objects from local research projects, including 66 Men of Grandpont, the Port Meadow airfield, Oxford’s Conscientious Objectors, Oxford Town Hall’s Military Hospital and a Magdalen College School photography project.

Trail activity sheet to guide families around the exhibition also available throughout its duration

Website

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/museumofoxford

Photo, black and white, showing a mechanic working on the underside of a bus

An Unseen Oxford

  • 2 — 29 September 2016

A documentary photography project by Peter David Grant, based in and around Oxford that aims to look behind the scenes, and find people and activities most residents and visitors wouldn’t notice or realise were there. Its goal is to remind us of the things we so easily take for granted.

Website

http://www.peterdavidgrant.com/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Oxford Town Hall's Main Hall

Oxford Town Hall Heritage Tours

  • 24 September 2016 11am-12pm

Join the Museum of Oxford as we take you on a tour around Oxford's magnificent Town Hall. This grade II* listed building was and still is the place where all of the big decisions for Oxford are made.
Did you know that our magnificent Main Hall was once a hospital during the First World War?
And that the public library of Oxford used to be housed within the Town Hall until the 1970s?
There is so much more to this magnificent building then the architecture; the stories of the people who have used and enjoyed this Town Hall past and present are unravelled and explored by our guides.

Each tour will take in the:

Medieval Crypt and city plate

-Explore Oxford's Jewish heritage

The Court Room

-Explore the multi-functionality of the Town Hall and its judicial past

The Council Chamber

-Explore where the council still meet to make the big decisions about Oxford

Turner of Oxford Watercolours

-Explore one of Oxford's most prolific painters, a contemporary of the great William Turner

Civic Plate display

-Explore out Great Mace, the largest ceremonial mace in the country and still present at council meetings and the 'beating of the bounds' ceremony

Explore Oxford!
-Explore our fantastic museum galleries, seek out how Oxford developed and some of the people that have shaped its past

All tours start at 11am unless otherwise stated and last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Please note that the Town Hall is fully accessible apart from the crypt which is only accessed via several stairs. All rooms visited on tour are subject to availability.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

Tickets
£4.50 per person (advance booking)
£5 per person (on the day)
£4 per concession (Senior citizens, students and young people under the age of 15) advance only

All money made by the tours goes towards the development of the Museumand its services. We are currently in the midst of a big redevelopment so we can show and explain more of Oxford’s history. Your patronage is much appreciated!

Website

http://www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decM/TownHallTours.htm

Main hall of Oxford Town Hall, an ornate plaster ceiling and an organ can be seen

Oxford Open Doors Weekend at Oxford Town Hall

  • 10 September 2016 10:30am-3:30pm
  • 11 September 2016 11am-2pm

Join the Museum of Oxford as we delve into the history of the Town Hall
Saturday 10th September 10.30am-4pm

Find out more about the fascinating history of the Town Hall and discover rooms not normally on view to the public with free Town Hall tours and a self-led family trail.
FREE Tours run at:
10.30am
2pm
3.30pm
Numbers are limited; tickets will be allocated half an hour before the tour start time.
Plus, don't miss the opportunity to hear the Waterloo Rifles Military Band in concert in the Town Hall's magnificent Main Hall at 11am (Saturday only).
Sunday 11th September 11am-4pm

Find out more about the fascinating history of the Town Hall and discover rooms not normally on view to the public with free Town Hall tours and a self-led family trail.
FREE Tours run at:
11am
2pm
Numbers are limited; tickets will be allocated half an hour before the tour start time.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/events/start/11-09-2016/end/11-09-2016

35 (T) squadron posefor a group photo next to two biplanes in front of a hangar building

Port Meadow: The Forgotten Aerodrome

  • 15 September 2016 6-7pm

Using a mixture of period and current photos, extracts from the press of the period, and some short film clips, Peter will look at Port Meadow from pre-war 1910 to post war early 1930s, and its role in training new pilots, looking at what remains, the type of training undertaken and the human perspective including, importantly in this WW1 commemoration period, the fatalities associated with the aerodrome. Refreshments available from 5.30pm.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/port-meadow-the-forgotten-aerodrome-tickets-27300659006

Contemporary photograph featuring Henry Gillet and Henry Waddle in robes and chains of office

We Will Not Fight - Oxford's Conscientious Objectors

  • 3 October 2016 2-3:30pm

The Military Service Act in 1916 made conscription compulsory for the first time in British history.
Henry Gillett and Harry Waddle were conscientious objectors from Oxford and this talk will explore what happened to them and other conscientious objectors.
Susan Smith is a local researcher investigating conscientious objectors during WW1. Refreshments available from 1.30pm

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/we-will-not-fight-oxfords-conscientious-objectors-tickets-27301256794

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Medieval Rubbish

Rummage through the remains of a Medieval rubbish pit to discover what life was really like in Oxford over 500 years ago. This workshop aims to help children find out what an archaeologist is and how s/he interprets the past through objects. The handling colection comes from a real excavation in the Westgate Shopping Centre area. In the galleries, pupils will explore domestic life in Medieval Oxford.

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Learning Department

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252819 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

A City at War!

Travel back in time to Oxford in the Civil war and discover what it was like to live in a city under siege. Food shortages, disease, water pollution and overcrowding are just a few of the hardships encountered in a city at war.
Pupils will be encouraged to investigate everyday life in Oxford betwen 1642 -1646 by exploring room settings in the galleries and handle objects for clues.

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Learning Department

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252819 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

Darkside of the Victorians: Children on Trial (KS2)

http://www.museumofoxford.org.uk

Every pupil has a part to play in this re-enactment of Victorian children's trial using real Oxford cases.
Held in Oxford's Town Hall court room.
Combine this workshop with a visit to the Oxford Castle Unlocked to explore the consequences of their crimes! (additional £4 per student)

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Learning Dept

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252819 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

Stories From the Grave

http://www.museumofoxford.org.uk

An interactive gallery and handling workshop investigating the evidence for Anglo-Saxon life in Oxford, with three diffrent activity options.

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Learning Department

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252819 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

Time Detectives

Pupils, acting as time detectives, take part in an interactive tour of the galleries. Followed by a workshop session where they will be encouraged to apply their historical skills to complete a series of hands-on challenges.
Pupils are encouraged to develop a sense of chronology and awareness of why and how things have changed.

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Learning Department

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252761 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

Washday Blues!

The handling collections in this workshop allow children to touch the past and investigate the evidence from Victorian Oxford. Pupils learn about a typical Victorian washday in Oxford in the late 19th century.
They will explore objects used to wash and iron clothes before the widespread use of electricity. They will be encouraged to make comparsions and contrasts between 'now and then' and 'rich and poor'.

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Education Department

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252819 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

We'll Meet Again: The Home Front in Oxford

http://www.museumofoxford.org.uk

Find out what life was like in Oxofrd during World War Two for evacuees, ARP wardens and the women who worked for the war effort.

Creator

  • Museum of Oxford Learning Dept

How to obtain

Telephone/Email for more information or to book.
01865 252819 / museum@oxford.gov.uk

Museum of Oxford
Town Hall
St. Aldates
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 1BX
England

Website

www.oxford.gov.uk/museumofoxford

E-mail

museum@oxford.gov.uk

Telephone

Museum of Oxford Gift Shop

01865 252334

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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