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.
Oxford community member with an object to become part of the exhibition

40 Years, 40 Objects

  • 28 August 2015 — 20 February 2016 *on now

An exhibition of forty objects selected by the local community to tell the story of their city. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Museum of Oxford has been working with local people and community groups to bring together objects which reflect their experiences and memories of Oxford over the past four decades. Visitors will be able to explore Oxford’s recent history through everyday objects, historic artefacts and personal mementoes. 40 Years, 40 Objects will also feature an exciting spotlight loan from a national museum and artwork and digital stories created especially for the exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

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

Victorian era photograph of a lady standing by her bicycle

Victorian Oxford Gallery Trail

  • 15 February — 11 March 2016

FREE, 10am-4.30pm, Monday to Saturday

Find out about how the Victorians worked and played. This trail takes you into the Explore Oxford galleries and our collection of Victorian objects.

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13
Acrylic painting of a woman by a member of the Portrait group

Kennington Portrait Group

  • 29 February — 30 March 2016

FREE, Gallery Corridor

A culmination of a year’s regular painting sessions, held in St. Swithun’s Church Hall in Kennington. Each artist chooses their preferred medium and view point, technique relies on previous tuition and practice of the individual.

29 February - 30 March
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am-4.30pm
Admission: Free

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Admission

Free

Website

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

A collection of medieval pottery found during the excavations

Underneath the Westgate Family Trail

  • 12 March — 23 April 2016

Westgate Archaeology Family trail accompanying the exciting new exhibition. Discover the latest finds from the Westgate Shopping Centre excavations.
Find out more about Oxford’s fascinating past, including the period, when the Medieval Greyfriars Abbey stood on the site!

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

Admission: Free

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

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

  • 13 February 2016 11am-12pm
  • 27 February 2016 11am-12pm
  • 12 March 2016 11am-12pm
  • 26 March 2016 11am-12pm
  • 9 April 2016 11am-12pm
  • 23 April 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

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

40 Objects Family Trail

  • 3 October 2015 — 19 February 2016 *on now

This trail takes you to the ‘40 Years, 40 Objects' exhibition where you can discover and sketch some of the fascinating local objects on display. You can also find out more about some of the colourful personalities from Oxford's past and put your observation and drawing skills to the test. This trail is one of the activities in the ‘Get Creative Family Arts Festival'.

Mon-Sat, 10am-4.30pm

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

A group of three women volunteers discuss Oxford history at a table with mugs and folders of information laid out upon it

Find Out More About Volunteering

  • 10 February 2016 10am-12pm

Date: 10th February 2016
Location: Heritage Learning Centre, Museum of Oxford
Time: 10:00 - 12:00
Cost: FREE

Volunteering is a great way of using your knowledge and skills as well as meeting new people. With over 100 people volunteering at the Museum of Oxford, why not come along and find out why they do it?
Join us for talks and demonstrations by volunteers and staff.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Ann Spokes-Symonds holds up a fragment of the wall she donated to the Museum of Oxford

The Cutteslowe Walls

  • 10 February 2016 2-3pm
Sorry, cancelled

This event has now been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, we apologise for any inconvenience caused.





Former Councillor Ann Spokes-Symonds talks about the Cutteslowe Walls. She was the first to cross the wall boundaries when they came down in March, 1959 and has lent a brick from the wall for the 40 objects exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Photo of The Old Museum interior where the event will take place, showing a section of a stained-glass window, medieval stonework, and a college barge.

K'Nex Skeletons with Science Oxford

  • 15 February 2016 10:30am-12pm, 1:30-3pm

£8, 10.30am-12noon and 1.30pm-3pm, The Old Museum

Why are our bones so important? Why do we need a skeleton and what does it do? Join the Science Oxford team to design and build a skeleton for your own creature using K’Nex and then test with model organs to see if your design works.
Bone-shaking fun for children aged 6+ Booking via www.scienceoxford.com

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£8 www.scienceoxford.com

Website

http://www.scienceoxford.com

Room in The Old Museum where events take place, features a stained glass window, medieval stonework and part of a college barge

Marvellous Magical Lanterns

  • 18 February 2016 10:30-11:30am, 12-1pm, 1:30-2:30pm, 2:30-3:30pm

FREE, 10.30am-3.30pm, The Old Museum

See a Victorian Magic Lantern in action in Professor Heard’s Peerless Magic Lantern Show. These early moving image projectors were widely enjoyed by children and adults until the growth of Cinemas. Try out a replica Lantern and make your own moving images!

Show times: 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. Please book for show times at the Museum of Oxford Gift Shop, 01865 252334, museum@oxford.gov.uk

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

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

Photo of a number of pots in a display cabinet, all found during archaeological dig on the Westgate Car Park site. The pots are all from different parts of the middle ages.

Westgate Pop-Up Museum

  • 5 March — 23 April 2016

Date: 5th March 2016 - 23rd April 2016
Monday to saturday 10am-4.30pm
Location: Gallery, Museum of Oxford
Cost: Free

The Pop-Up Museum is back. See amazing finds from the Westgate site, including the writing styli and book clasps belonging to the monks of Greyfriars to an ox skeleton found lying on the edge of the gravel islands Oxford was built upon.

Delve into the Westgate's past with Oxford Archaeology and the Museum of Oxford. Watch out for big finale events – not to be missed. For all the latest news, follow @oatweet #WestgateDig, or visit the Oxford Archaeology website.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Logo, woodcut style text reads 'Museum of Oxford'

English Museums & Change

  • 8 March 2016 5:30-7:30pm

How have museums changed over the past 40 years?

With the Museum of Oxford reaching 40 in 2015, we will look back at how museums have changed the way they present their collections.

Speakers will include:
• Professor Nicholas Mayhew, once deputy director of collections at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford
• Crispin Paine is a museum consultant and writer. In 1975 he joined Oxford City & County Museum at Woodstock to set up the “Oxford Branch Museum”
• Martyn Heighton is director and chair of the council of National Historic Ships UK and formerly director of Merseyside Maritime Museum. Martyn has been involved in a number heritage sites and museums and was involved with the setup of the Museum of Oxford.
• Sarah Medlam worked as deputy keeper in the V&As Furniture, Textiles and Fashion Department. Also involved with the Museum of Oxford
• Jon Hall was also one of the original ‘founders’ of the Museum of Oxford focussing on photography and the design of displays and cases. He went on to start a design studio for the service and then became Design and Production Manager at Liverpool Museums.

Museum professionals will deliver talks on their own take on how museums have changed with the Museum of Oxford as their starting point. A panel discussion will follow the talks, where members of the audience will be able to pose questions.

Why not join us for an evening which promises to be an intriguing insight into the workings of museums during the past 40 years.

This event will be hosted by MoOFs, the Museum of Oxford Friends, and all money raised will go towards the Museum’s development. Tickets and booking available through Eventbrite, calling 01865 252334 or visiting the Museum of Oxford’s gift shop.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

FREE for MoOFs members, £5, £6.47 via Eventbrite, for non-members (entry fee also includes membership to MoOFs)

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/english-museums-change-tickets-20939909834?ref=enivte001&invite=OTA1NzY3OC9kai5iYXJuZXNAYnRpbnRlcm5ldC5jb20vMA%3D%3D&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=invitemodernv2&utm_term=eventpage

Concept illustration of London redevelopment to accommodate the 2012 Olympics

More Than Just Games By John R Gold

  • 17 March 2016 6-7pm

Date: 17th March 2016
Location: The Old Museum, Museum of Oxford
Time: 18:00 - 19:00
Cost: Free

How did organizers think about the outcomes of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, and what does this mean for the legacy of London 2012? John R Gold is Professor of Urban Historical Geography at Oxford Brookes University, and his book Olympic Cities is a leading work on the impacts of the Olympics.
Over the last eight years, he has acted as an advisor for several bids by cities seeking to apply for the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

Cover of Mark Davies' book, illustration of Sadler riding his balloon while waving flags

The King of Balloons By Mark Davies

  • 24 March 2016 6-7:30pm

Date: 24th March 2016
Location: The Old Museum, Museum of Oxford
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Cost: Free
A talk by local author Mark Davies on his new book about the Oxford pastry cook James Sadler, who became the first Englishman to build and fly a hot-air balloon in Oxford in 1784.

Website

http://www.museumofoxford.org

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.

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

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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