Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Parks Road






01865 272950


01865 272970

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The Oxford University Museum of Natural History houses the University's scientific collections of zoological, entomological, geological, palaeontological and mineralogical specimens, accumulated in the course of the last three centuries. The exhibits occupy a large centre court with its elegant cast iron columns supporting the great glass roof, and surrounded on four sides by upper and lower arcades. They are devoted to the history and diversity of life on Earth and the rocks and minerals that form it.

What is not on public display are huge reserve collections that are used for research and teaching. These are organised into four Collections: Entomology, Zoology, Palaeontology, and Mineralogy/Petrology. Each collection is cared for by a Curator and an Assistant Curator.

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

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open daily 10.00-17.00
Open most Bank holidays

Closed Easter Sunday and Christmas

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

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.

Disabled access: The Museum has separate wheelchair access at the north-west door. Unfortunately the gallery is not accessible to wheelchair users.

Organised parties: The Museum welcomes organised school and other parties. Please see the Education Services page for more details.

Drawing and painting in the Museum: The floors and walls of the Museum are unsealed, porous stone. They can be easily damaged by the spillage of artists' materials. Therefore artists may draw in the Museum using graphite pencils only.

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

Food: There are no restaurant facilities at the Museum; there are many cafes and restaurants within a few minutes walk of the Museum in the city centre. Picnic lunches can be eaten on the Museum lawn and in the nearby University Parks in fine weather.

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
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