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.
Painting of a rolling wave by Mark Wood

The Spirit of Nature: works by Mark Wood

  • 27 June — 22 July 2015 *on now

An exhibition to celebrate the work of Mark Wood, a painter, cartoonist and musician with a long history of mental health problems who died in August 2013. He took great delight in the Oxfordshire countryside and wildlife and felt very strongly about ecological issues and the need to protect the planet from further harm.

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Hand sketching Oxford landmarks with a marker pen

Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries

  • 11 — 30 July 2015

Views and people of Oxford from Urban Sketchers.
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm
Admission: Free

Suitable for

  • Any age
'Museum of Oxford' text in a woodcut style

Beneath our feet: visit the Explore Oxford galleries

  • 11 — 25 July 2015

Visit the Explore Oxford galleries and discover the fascinating evidence from lives in Oxford's past with a family friendly gallery trail. Take a trip underground on our virtual tour through medieval Jewish Oxford.

Website

http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/events/1889

Children in historical costumes look around our Museum Gallery

Modern Magna Carta

  • 28 July — 20 August 2015

An exhibition by primary schools, secondary schools and children from local learning disability charities working with Brookes University creating modern interpretations of the Magna Carta.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm
Admission: Free

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

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

Oxford city skyline, displaying the famous spires, in pen and ink style

Oxford Art Prize Exhibition

  • 29 August — 13 September 2015

O3 Gallery and Oxford Castle Quarter are launching the new and exciting Oxford Art Prize; an open art competition to celebrate Oxford city’s unique culture, natural beauty and heritage. Finished pieces will be displayed in the Gallery where they will be judged and available to buy.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm
Admission: Free

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Free

Website

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

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

  • 11 July 2015 11am-12pm
  • 25 July 2015 11am-12pm
  • 8 August 2015 11am-12pm
  • 22 August 2015 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

Museum of Oxford woodcut style logo

Inspired Art Family Trail

  • 23 May — 10 July 2015 *on now

Activity worksheet providing a fun family trail around the Explore Oxford galleries, finding art everywhere in Oxford's history. Suitable for all the family.
Available 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday for £1 from the Museum's Gift Shop.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£1

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Girl dressed as Alice holding up a plate

Alice's Day at the Museum of Oxford

  • 4 July 2015 10am-5pm

Alice’s Day returns with a day full of free family drop-in activities as part of the city-wide celebrations of the famous Oxford Alice in Wonderland story!

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Hand sketching Oxford buildings and people with a marker pen

Pushing Your Sketching Boundaries Tuition Days

  • 8 — 10 July 2015
  • 11 July 2015 10am-5pm

This is an urban sketching workshop in the heart of Oxford that will push your sketching boundaries, exploring techniques for drawing people, paint in watercolour and creating bold sketches on location. The results of the workshop will be exhibited along with other urban sketches around Oxford at the Gallery Corridor.

To book and for further information contact:
Isabel Carmona Andreu
email: isacarand@gmail.com
Or visit:
http://workshops.urbansketchers.org/2015/04/pushing-your-sketching-boundaries-in.html

Admission

Registration fee
£ 225 - (£180 concessions - 20% discount for students
or unwaged -with proof of concession status)
To book - e-mail Isabel: isacarand@gmail.com for a registration form.

Website

http://workshops.urbansketchers.org/2015/04/pushing-your-sketching-boundaries-in.html

'Museum of Oxford' logo, text in a woodcut style

150 Years of Alice's Adventures in Oxford

  • 18 July 2015 10am-4pm

To mark 150 years since the publication of probably the most famous children’s book ever written, this day course will provide an insight into the factors which inspired Lewis Carroll to create the story. The morning will comprise two illustrated talks, with emphasis on the all-important role of the River Thames; the afternoon walk will visit additional significant locations to end at Oxford University Press, where the book was printed in June 1865.

Tutor for courses is Mark Davies, local historian and author.

Admission

Course Fees: £25 Each To book your place enrol online at the website or call freephone: 0800 328 1060 (Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm)

Website

https://enrolonline.wea.org.uk/Online/2014/CourseInfo.aspx?ActivityID=319632

Man examining a medieval pottery fragment with a magnifying glass

Magna Carta: Medieval Life in Oxford

  • 30 July 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 3 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 6 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 10 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 13 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 17 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm
  • 20 August 2015 10:30am-12:30pm

Join us to find out more about life in Oxford in the time of King John when the Magna Carta was signed. Investigate the evidence from a medieval rubbish pit and discover what survived and what didn’t!

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

Free

Website

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

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.

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

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

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

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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