Oxford University Museum of Natural History

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Founded in 1860 as the centre for scientific study at the University of Oxford, the Museum of Natural History now holds the University’s internationally-significant collections of geological and zoological specimens, as well as substantial archival material. Housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, the Museum’s growing collections underpin a broad programme of natural environment research, teaching and public engagement.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

Open daily 10.00-17.00
Open most Bank holidays

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

Cafe: The Museum café is situated on the upper gallery over-looking the dinosaurs. There are child-friendly options available and families are always welcome.

Parking: There is no public parking available at the Museum, although coaches for visiting groups are usually able to drop off in Parks Road outside the Museum. There is a limited amount of pay-and-display parking in Keble Road and St Giles. Oxford has four park-and-ride car parks on the Ring Road, with regular bus services to the city centre.

The Museum is about 10 minutes walk from Oxford city centre and about 15 minutes from Oxford station.

Disabled access: There is no public parking at the Museum, although disabled facilities are available to registered users. There is a lift to the upper gallery for wheelchair access. Registered guide dogs are allowed in the museum.

Group visits: It is essential for all groups planning to visit the Museum to make a booking at least 2 days before their visit. Please contact education@oum.ox.ac.uk or 01865 282451. Language and international groups can book a joint visit to the Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Photography: Visitors are welcome to take photographs for their personal use. Professional photography may be arranged, in advance, with the Museum Administrator.

The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Housed in an exceptional Grade 1 Victorian building (1860) of cast iron and glass, the University's collections are heavily used in research, teaching and public education. Highlights include the collections of: Hope and Dale, and the oldest known pinned insect (1702) in entomology; Buckland, Phillips, Daubeny, and Lyell (geology); Simmons (mineralogy); smaller collections from Burchell, Darwin, Wallace, Livingstone, Bell; and extensive modern collections.

The Tradescant collection, bequeathed to Oxford by Elias Ashmole in 1677 contains some of the oldest documented zoology specimens in the world, including the Oxford Dodo. Equally prominent are the associated archival materials, including those of the 'father of English geology', William Smith.

Collection details

Archaeology, Natural Sciences

Key artists and exhibits

  • Zoological, entomological, palaeontological, petrological and mineral specimens
  • The Dodo
  • Dinosaurs
  • Swifts
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Lives at the Top

  • 12 May — 13 November 2016 *on now

A small display celebrating the
Museum’s Victorian glass roof.
Soaring above the specimens, it is a
source of fascination for all visitors.
In this creative exploration of the
roof, discover the people behind
its creation, secrets of its beautiful
design and find out how it has been
maintained for generations to come

Suitable for

  • Any age
Orchid Cuckoo Bee from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Microsculpture

  • 27 May — 30 October 2016 *on now

See insect specimens from the
Museum’s collections like never
before in the beautifully-lit, large
scale, high magnification portraiture
of Levon Biss.
www.microsculpture.net

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.microsculpture.net

Oxford Photographic Society

  • 22 October 2016 — 22 January 2017

The Museum is hosting the Oxford
Photographic Society’s annual
exhibition, this year themed on the
beauty of the natural world.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

Artweeks Arctic

  • 11 November 2016 — 29 January 2017

Arctic-inspired glasswork, paintings,
photography, textiles and ceramics
from a range of Oxfordshire
Artweeks artists.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

Stone capital

Visualising Nature

  • 7 December 2016 6:30-8:30pm

Since the Middle Ages, art and science have
worked together to understand nature. Join
our expert panel to explore visions of nature
from bestiaries to the latest computer
technologies. Includes a pop-up exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

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.

Family Friendly Sundays

  • 9 January — 17 December 2016 *on now

Every Sunday, Drop-in, 2-4pm
Family Friendly trails, crafts, backpacks and more, all provided by Museum volunteers.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

National Poetry Day

  • 6 October 2016 10am-4pm

Feeling poetic? Meet our Poets in
Residence, hear poems inspired by our
collections, follow our poetry trail, or write
your own to post on our poetry tree.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

Natural History of Pokémon

The Natural History of Pokémon

  • 8 October 2016 7-8pm

Brush off your Pokéballs! Collections
manager Mark Carnall shows us how
the zoology of Pokémon introduces players
to concepts such as sexual dimorphism,
genetics and advanced taxonomy.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 11-13
  • 18+
  • 16-17

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Bee Identification Workshop

  • 15 — 16 October 2016 10am-5pm

A two-day course run by expert
entomologists. Use the Museum’s British
bee reference collection to identify
species.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£60 for two-day course.

Website

http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/#venue=569

Age of Nature

  • 18 October 2016 2:30-4pm

A group enabling older people to explore
and enjoy the Museum, with light
refreshments. Age of Nature is Dementia
Friendly.

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

Nature: The Authorised Biography

  • 22 October 2016 7:30-9pm

Join award-winning comedy adventurers
The Dead Secrets on a journey through the
sands of time as they answer once and for
all the unanswerable questions about our
relationship with the natural world.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£10

Website

http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/#venue=569

Poetry Masterclass

  • 29 October 2016 10:30am-1pm, 2-4:30pm

Practice the art of poetry writing with
Kelley Swain, author and Poet in Residence

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£40

Website

http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/#venue=569

Night at the Museum

  • 11 November 2016 6-9pm

An evening of activities with a night-time
theme, organised by the Museum’s Youth
Forum.

Suitable for

  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Speed Date Specimen Sketching

  • 12 November 2016 10am-3pm

Fall in love with some unusual specimens,
learn some natural history, and
challenge your speedy sketching skills!
Please bring your own materials.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£15

Website

http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/#venue=569

Hopes and Fears poster

Hopes and Fears

  • 18 November 2016 7-10pm

An evening of music, comedy, debate and a bar, exploring Hopes, Fears, Extinctions
and Invasions. Joint event with Pitt Rivers Museum.

Live music, Bar, Demonstrations, Lucky food, Cat debate, Meet researchers, Poetry workshops, Guerilla archaeology and much more...

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

Tickets £3 or 4 for £10.

Website

http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/ticketsoxford/#venue=569

Age of Nature

  • 22 November 2016 2:30-4pm

A group enabling older people to explore and
enjoy the Museum, with light refreshments.
Age of Nature is Dementia Friendly.

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

Super Science Saturday: The Science Behind the Headlines

  • 26 November 2016 12-4pm

Investigate, experiment and discover more
about science in the news.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk

Centre court of the museum

Building the Book of Nature

  • 1 December 2016 7-9pm

Join professors John Holmes and Janine
Rogers to explore how the Pre-Raphaelite
vision of nature influenced the Museum’s
architecture. Includes a special exhibition of
Pre-Raphaelite work

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Poem behind calcite

Guests of Time

  • 12 December 2016 7-9pm

Meet our Poets in Residence as they
launch their new anthology. Enjoy an evening
of readings and an opportunity to see the
specimens and architecture that inspired the
poems.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

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.

Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Parks Road
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 3PW
England

Website

www.oum.ox.ac.uk

E-mail

info@oum.ox.ac.uk

Telephone

01865 272950

Fax

01865 272970

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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