Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum is the country’s oldest public museum and home to one of the most important collections of art and archaeology to be found anywhere.
The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of humankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world's largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.
Tues - Sun & Bank Holiday Mondays: 10.00-17.00
Closed: Every Mon & 24,25,26 Dec
Parking is available next to the Museum on St. Giles
The entire collection of the Ashmolean Museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.
The Ashmolean Museum was founded in 1683, the first institutional museum in Britain, and arguably in Europe. Notable among antiquities are the Egyptian collections, the Classical Greek collections including the ‘Arundel Marbles’ and the Felix Gem, and the Alfred Jewel. Paintings date from early Italian to Pre-Raphaelite and there are outstanding drawings by Raphael and Michelangelo. The arts of China, Japan, South East Asia and Islam are well represented, as are Maiolica, Renaissance bronzes and numismatics.
World Cultures, Fine Art, Decorative and Applied Art, Coins and Medals, Archaeology
Key artists and exhibits
- Designated Collection
Michael Sullivan: A Life of Art and Friendship
- 11 March — 14 September 2014 *on now
Michael Sullivan, who died aged 96 in September 2013, was a leading scholar of Chinese art. He was also able to build up an outstanding collection of modern Chinese art through his life-long friendships with prominent Chinese artists who presented many inscribed paintings, prints, drawings, and albums to him and his wife Khoan. Their collection has been bequeathed by Michael Sullivan to the Ashmolean, and this selection of works commemorates his long and fruitful life of art and friendship.
- Any age
Lest We Forget: Commemorating the Great War 1914-1918
- 1 July — 1 December 2014 *on now
This display commemorates the First World War as evidenced in coins, medals and banknotes. The objects include commemorative and campaign medals struck to commemorate the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the ariel bombardment of London, and the sinking of the Lusitania amongst other events. The display also features emergency money struck during the war, prisoner-of-war tokens, and paper monet issued specifically to the troops
- Family friendly
- 24 July — 26 October 2014 *on now
Howard Carter’s excavation of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 was one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
The name of Egypt’s ‘boy king’ is now synonymous with the glories of this ancient civilisation. DISCOVERING TUTANKHAMUN will display objects of the Amarna Period (about 1350–1330 BC) with material from the archives of Oxford’s Griffith Institute, now in its 75th year, to tell the story of the discovery of the tomb, its popular appeal, and to explore how modern Egyptologists are reinterpreting the evidence.
The Eye of the Needle: English Embroideries from the Feller Collection
- 1 August — 12 October 2014 *on now
THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE will display, for the first time in public, a selection of eye-catching, virtuoso 17th-century embroideries from the internationally renowned Feller Collection, together with outstanding examples from the Ashmolean’s own holdings.
The exhibition will explore the context in which these technically exacting works were made by girls and young women at home or school, and what they reveal of the society, economy, and culture of 17th-century England.
A View of Chinese Gardens
- 5 August — 30 November 2014 *on now
Traditional Chinese gardens represent idealised maniature landscapes by using delicate arrangements of plants, water, rocks and architecture. Some plants have been favoured and cultivated in gardens all over the country, as they have particular symbolic meanings. This exhibition introduces a view of Chinese gardens by showing various artistic depictions of major garden plants and scenes. Four plant specimens collected in China in the 19th century on loan from the Oxford Herbarium are included in the display, showing the actual forms of some of the most popular garden plants in China.
- Family friendly
Oxford Times Photography
- 9 September — 1 December 2014
To coincide with the Photography Oxford Festival 2014, the Ashmolean is collaborating with the Oxford Times to celebrate their 150th anniversary, with a special display of photgraphs from their extensive archives. 15 photographs will be on display in the Ashmolean Café and will show how the Oxford Times has been at the forefront of documenting the history of Oxford, from the beginnings of press photography in the 19th century, to the present day.
- Family friendly
William Blake: Apprentice and Master
- 4 December 2014 — 1 March 2015
APPRENTICE AND MASTER examines three major aspects of the life and work of William Blake (1757–1827): his formation as an artist and apprenticeship as an engraver; his achievement as a master artist-printmaker, technical innovator, painter, and revolutionary poet; and finally his relationship to the printmakers of the Renaissance, and his influence on a younger generation of artists such as Samuel Palmer.
In one room of the exhibition, a nineteenth-century star-wheel rolling press will be installed where curator, Michael Phillips, will give demonstrations showing how Blake printed his illuminated books.
Sketchbook Short Course
- 2 September 2014 10:15am-12:30pm
Join these sketchbook sessions and explore a wide range of media from coloured pencils to collage. Get to know the Ashmolean's collections with tours and talks, learn from demonstrations, and develop your own creative approach with the tutor's guidance.
Sheltered for Eternity: the Sarcophagus, Coffins and Canopic Equipment of Tutankhamun
- 6 September 2014 2-3pm
The tomb of Tutankhamun provides a rare glimpse of a New Kingdom royal mummy housed in all its spendour. Dr Adrian Dodson examines the tomb of Tutankhamun in a wider context by looking at the fragments of objects found in the tombs of other New Kingdom rulers, as well as other lesser-known intact royal burials of a later date.
- 9 September 2014 6:30-7:30pm
When the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun became public knowledge, in late November 1922, it had an immediate impact on the worlds of art, design and popular culture. There had been outbreaks of 'Egyptomania' in the west before - notably during Napolean's invasion and at the opening of the Suez canal - but never before on this scale. This lecture explores the background to 'Tut-mania' and examines its influence on everything from the Chrysler Building and fashion design, to Hollywood epeics and the music-hall.
Heritage Open Days 2014: Ashmolean Museum
- 13 September 2014
Please refer to the Heritage Open Days website for booking details and timings.
Ancient Egypt: From Birth to Coronation
- 16 September 2014 10:30am-4pm
Egyptologist Garry Shaw explores Egyptian kingship looking at the ideal Pharaoh, as shown on temple walls and in court texts. Discover how this representation contrasts with the reality of the king's early life growing up as a prince, through to his time on the throne. The study day will look at royal education, family life, health, death, and the king's role as war leader.
Reflections of Wonderful Things: Howard Carter's Records of the Tomb of Tutankhamun
- 18 September 2014 2-3pm
Dr Jaromir Malek, former Keeper of the Archive in the Griffith Institute, will talk about its most spectacular treasure, the excavation records for the tomb of Tutankhamun. These are now fully accessible online thanks to Dr Maleks work and provide a unique insight into the famous discovery.
Under-5s: Hello Mummy!
- 18 September 2014 10:30am-12:30pm
Make a mini ancient Egyptian mummy during our 'Discovering Tutankhamun' exhibition.
- Family friendly
Petra: the Rose-Red City, and the Nabeteans
- 23 September 2014 2-3pm
The Nabeteans were a tribal society who lived in ancient Jordan from the 6th century BC. They had an extensive caravan trade network across Arabia, Jordan and beyond. In this lecture, Linda Farrar explores the monuments, tombs and material culture of the Nabeateans including Petra, their capital city in the Jordanian desert which was discovered in 1812.
Clay Live: Masterclass - Working with Clay
- 25 September 2014 2-4pm
Jude Jelfs is a potter and bronze-worker who makes hand-built figurative ceramics in earthenware, porcelain and stoneware. This is an opportunity to learn about these different techniques and see a practical demonstration.
The Eye of the Needle: Study Day
- 25 September 2014 10:30am-3:30pm
The exuberant and technically exacting embroideries in this exhibition were made by young girls and women in 17th-century England, a century of religious and political upheaval. in this study day, we explore the social context in which these embroideries were made, and the skills and creativity of the makers through five lectures looking at techniques and materials
and women in the early modern period.
Crazy for Egypt: In Conversation
- 26 September 2014 5-6pm
The land of the Pharaohs has been a source of inspiration for western artists since the 18th century, but the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922 unleashed an unprecedented craze for all things Egyptian, influencing everything from the visual arts to music and literature. In this discussion broadcaster and journalist Alastair Sooke, V&A Senior Curator Ghislaine Wood and Prof Stephanie Wood from Southampton University explore the meaning behind the popular fascination with ancient Egypt and how it shaped our world of celebrity, mass communication and fashion.
Vibrant Watercolours Workshop
- 27 September 2014 10:15am-4pm
Following a guided tour of the exhibition, and using the Ashmolean's remarkable Egyptian collections, artist Amanda Beck will show you how to create vibrant watercolour paintings made in response to the discovery of Tutankhamun.
Dinosaurs, Deserts and DNA: the Strange Science of Tutankhamun's Mummy
- 27 September 2014 2-3pm
Join Jo Marchant as she tells the story of scientists' attempts to study Tutankhamun's mummy, from the first dramatic autopsy in 1925 to the high-tech scans and DNA tests carried out in modern day Egypt. We'll discover a piece of Tutankhamun kept in a drawer in Liverpool
find out why the Mormons are desperate to get their hands on the pharaoh's DNA
and hear the real story of what happened to the poor king's penis, all while grappling with perils from deadly fungi and radioactive tombs to dinosaur DNA.
Practical Printmaking: Mono Print
- 28 September 2014 10:15am-4pm
This course offers students the opportunity to create their own mono print inspired by organic forms, shapes, textures and images found in the Museum's collections. Using photography and sketchbook work, students will be guided through the process of building up a relief block to create a series of prints.
World War One
- 28 September 2014 10:30am-4pm
Study artistic representations of the Great War. Investigate the heroics of Lady Butler's paintings, the horrors of the trenches depicted by Paul Nash and Otto Dix, the haunting melancholia expressed in the music of John Foulds and Ralph Vaughn Williams and the healing redemption found in the Sandham Chapel murials of Stanley Spencer.
Please check website for further information
May Morris and Embroideries of the Arts and Crafts Movement
- 30 September 2014 3:45-4:45pm
Discover textile designs and drawings of Kelmscott Manor by the craftswoman May Morris, who managed the embroidery section of Morris & Co. from 1885.
Hard Held: War Art Today
- 30 September 2014 2-3:30pm
Artist Jason Bowyer spent ten days with the British Army at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan in 2013. In this lecture, he talks about his experience of making drawings from observation in a hostile environment and its connection with his current work.
Dr. Suzanne MacLeod – Museum Architecture: a New Biography
- 14 December 2014
The Ashmolean, which opened its acclaimed new building in 2009, is delighted to welcome Dr Suzanne MacLeod, University of Leicester, to speak on the subject of her new book, Museum Architecture: a New Biography. Dr MacLeod will discuss the evolution of museum design, trends in museum building around the world, and how the changing role of museums in society effects how they are built.
Tickets cost £8 (£7 concessions)
Family Fun: Curious Containers
- 13 September 2104 1-2pm
From cricket cages to puzzle jugs, discover some unusal containers and make a special box to take home.
- Family friendly