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.
Derek Stands to the left of an arrangement of his various paintings of the English countryside. Some of the paintings are hung on a brick wall, while others are on easels.

Paintings of the English Countryside by Derek Cooke

  • 1 — 31 March 2017 *on now

Date: 1st March 2017 - 31st March 2017
Monday-Saturday
Location: Gallery Corridor, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Cost: Free

Derek paints in oils, watercolours and pastels. He obtained his style by studying part time at the English Royal Academy at the West of England and also at Bath College.

He has had many exhibitions over the years in places such as Malmsbury, Burford and Chipping Sodbury and also as part of a group exhibition at the Bristol Museum.
All proceeds from the sales of these paintings are being donated by Derek to the Museum of Oxford Friends.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Photograph of a man in costume and makeup taking on the appearance of the 'green man' from English traditional folklore. He appears as if made from leaves and other foliage.

Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A journey through the ritual year

  • 4 March — 22 April 2017 *on now

Date: 4th March 2017 - 22nd April 2017
Every day
Location: Gallery, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Cost: Free

An exhibition of photographs by Sara Hannant featuring English customs and rituals throughout the year. From costumed processions to traditional dance and ceremonies, this exhibition is on loan from the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and marks the centenary of the death of Oxford antiquary Percy Manning.

Part of a partnership with the Bodleian, Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers museum.
Also featuring photographs of the Cowley Road Carnival since its inception.

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Photographic portrait of a young man, he has a thick ginger beard and blue eyes. His navy blue coat has its collar turned up high around his neck and he wears a tweed flat cap on his head.

Portraits by Ian Wallman

  • 3 — 28 April 2017

Date: 3rd April 2017 - 28th April 2017
Monday to Saturday
Location: Gallery Corridor, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Cost: Free

This exhibition showcases the portrait photography of Ian Wallman. The body of work is influenced by the long tradition of portraiture in fine art, it aims to explore how personality can be presented through a static image.

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Abstract painting

The Legacy of St Ives: Past and Present

  • 29 April — 27 May 2017

Date: 29th April 2017 - 27th May 2017
Monday - Saturday
Location: Gallery and Gallery Corridor, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Cost: Free

Zuleika Gallery is a pop up gallery and art consultancy that focuses on 20th Century British & Contemporary Art from the 1960s to present day. This exhibition features work by some of the leading artists from the St Ives colony, such as Ben Nicholson, Sandra Blow, Terry Frost and Patrick Heron, and will present their work alongside that of contemporary artists who continue to be inspired by rugged terrain and artistic legacy of the south west.

Admission

Free

Website

http://www.zuleikagallery.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

  • 8 April 2017 11am-12pm
  • 22 April 2017 11am-12pm
  • 13 May 2017 11am-12pm
  • 27 May 2017 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

Steel watering can painted dark green with a floral design featuring a ring of roses

Family Gallery Trail - Canal Trail

  • 7 January — 31 March 2017 *on now

Date: 7th January 2017 - 31st March 2017
Mon-Sat
Location: Gift Shop, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Cost: Free
Find out about the history of Oxford’s canal through our objects in the Explore Oxford Gallery.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Old Bonn Coat of Arms. A shield, with the upper half white with a black cross, the lower half blue with an image of a red lion.

Symbols of the City Family Gallery Trail

  • 31 March — 27 May 2017

Date: 31st March 2017 - 27th May 2017
Monday - Saturday
Location: Gift Shop, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Cost: Free

Help us celebrate 70 years of Oxford’s twinning with Bonn by following this self-guided family trail in the Town Hall. Discover symbols of our city, where and why they are used.

Trails freely available from the Gift Shop.

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

19th century print showing men rowing on a river. The Cox is dressed in a suit and boater hat, while the rowers mostly wear shorts, many also wear boaters with jumpers tied around their shoulders. Trees can be seen along the river bank.

'Professors of Rowing’: the first Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races

  • 6 April 2017 6-7pm

When Cambridge issued the first challenge in 1829, competitive rowing in Oxford had been a low-key affair, undertaken by only a handful of colleges since the first known inter-college race in 1815. Little changed until a seven-man Oxford crew won an unlikely victory against a Cambridge ‘eight’ in 1843. In between, an improbable alliance of Town & Gown had seen Thames’ watermen and boatbuilders – some immortalised in fiction – crucially equipping and training the early Oxford crews.
Doors open from 5.30pm.

Book via Eventbrite link.

Admission

Free, but booking essential.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/professors-of-rowing-the-first-oxford-cambridge-boat-races-tickets-30354203239

Science Oxford Logo

Egg-citing Easter Challenge with Science Oxford

  • 10 April 2017 10-11:30am, 12:30-2pm, 2:30-4pm

Monday 10th April 2017
It's time to get cracking with an Easter holiday family workshop all about eggs. Your mission is to build a car that can protect and transport your egg safely, ensuring that it survives the odd crash or two along the way! The eggcellent engineers at Science Oxford will be on hand to provide helpful tips and tricks as you work together to build, test and redesign your special crash test cars. All participants can take their cars and a chocolate treat home with them at the end of the session.
Suitabe for ages 7-11
Sessions:
10AM - 11.30AM
12.30PM - 2PM
2.30PM - 4PM
£7 per child, accompanying adults free

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£7 per child, accompanying adults free

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/egg-citing-easter-challenge-with-science-oxford-tickets-32122085021

Photograph of a man in costume and makeup taking on the appearance of the 'green man' from English traditional folklore. He appears as if made from leaves and other foliage.

Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids Family Activity Days

  • 13 April 2017 10:30am-3:30pm
  • 20 April 2017 10:30am-3:30pm

13th April 2017 & 20th April 2017
Location: Gallery, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:30 - 15:30
Cost: Free

Visit our new temporary exhibition about English customs and traditions throughout the year. Make your own Green Man mask or Morris Man’s hat at our family craft trolley. You can also find out more about local traditions surrounding the celebration of May Day in Oxford.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 5-6

Admission

Free

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Frank Gooden sits on top of his Morane-Saulnier G plane next to the cockpit, with one hand held onto the frame holding the craft's wings. He wear a tweed jacket, scarf and hat, with goggles pulled up above his eyes so they rest on his forehead.

Frank Goodden: Oxfordshire’s First Aviator?

  • 25 May 2017 6-7pm

An illustrated talk by Peter Smith exploring the career of Frank Goodden at the Port Meadow aerodrome from 1911 and during WW1, using period photos and newspaper clips. Entry from 5.30pm.
Frank was an established balloonist, parachutist, airshipman and engineer before he arrived at Port Meadow in early 1911, aged only 21, to help set up Oxford’s first but unsuccessful aerodrome. He went on to design, build and fly his own monoplane there in 1912, and subsequently became acknowledged as one of the best pilots in the country by 1914.
He became Chief Test Pilot at the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough during WW1, helping to overcome the terrifying spin phenomenon that proved fatal for many pilots, and developing the design concept for one of the best WW1 fighters. An illustrated talk covering Franks aviation career, including his time in Oxford, using period photos and newspaper clips.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/frank-goodden-oxfordshires-first-aviator-tickets-30291539811

Old Bonn coat of arms, a shield with a red lion in profile over a blue background, above a black and white cross sits over a white background.

Bonn Twinning Anniversary Family Activity Day

  • 27 May 2017 1-4pm

Our family workshop is part of a city-wide series of events celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Oxford’s twinning with Bonn. Find out about the history of twinning, discover the stories behind the coat of arms of both cities and design your own twinning badge.

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Website

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/events/start/27-05-2017/end/27-05-2017

Victorian-era, painted illustration of flowers, p[ossibly roses, typical of the style found on canal boats

Flower Power Family Gallery Trail

  • 30 May — 21 June 2017

Date: 30th May 2017 - 21st June 2017
Monday-Saturday
Location: Gift Shop, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 16:30
Cost: Free

Get ready for summer with our Flower Power trail. From Romans to Tudors people have always loved flowers. Discover the amazing flowery objects in our museum with this activty trail sheet.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Website

https://www.oxford.gov.uk/events/start/30-05-2017/end/30-05-2017

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.

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

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

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

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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