Oxford University Museum of Natural History

venue representative image
baby changing facilities icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

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:


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.

Into the Woodlands

  • 30 November 2017 — 2 June 2018 *on now

Eight hundred years ago, the Charter of the Forest gifted public access to Britain’s woodlands, to be used and enjoyed by all. Marking this anniversary, and celebrating 75 years of Wytham Woods, this display features woodland-inspired work by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood, Robin Wilson, Rosie Fairfax-Cholmeley and Richard Lawrence.

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.
Bee Fly

Introduction to Diptera Families

  • 20 — 21 January 2018 10am-6pm

This two-day course offers a comprehensive introduction to all families of Diptera, their life histories and identification. Suitable for anyone, from beginner up. Participants will receive a copy of the Dipterists Forum draft key to Families. Tutored by Barbara and John Ismay, with practical identification help from young entomologist Jann Billker.

The course runs 10am-6pm each day in the Museum of Natural History Annexe. Doors open at 9.45am.

£60 per person for two-day course.





Museum of Natural History

Curious Cubs

  • 23 January 2018 10:30am-12:30pm

Pick up an activity bag and explore the
Museum with some of our furry friends.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Coleopterists Day

  • 10 February 2018 10am-4pm

A day all about beetles, with talks and
a chance to visit the insect and library
collections. For collections or library visit
please email life@oum.ox.ac.uk in

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children
Operation Earth

People & Planet: Operation Earth

  • 12 — 14 February 2018

Marvel at incredible planet Earth! Discover
what it’s made from and the spectacular
things it can do.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Settlers Spotlight

  • 17 February 2018 2:30-3pm
  • 17 March 2018 2:30-3pm
  • 21 April 2018 2:30-3pm

Find out about the latest research in an
afternoon talk based on themes explored in
the Settlers exhibition.


People and Places, Brexit and Britain: the importance of Immigration and Empire

  • 22 February 2018 6:30-7:30pm

Professor Danny Dorling discusses the role
of the British Empire in shaping today’s
map of ethnic identity in Britain, and
contemporary attitudes to immigration,
emigration and Brexit.

Part of the Settlers exhibition event programme (www.oum.ox.ac.uk/settlers)



Settlers exhibition logo

Darwin’s Fuegian Lice: From Dust to DNA

  • 1 March 2018 6:30-7:30pm

Museum researcher Charlotte Inchley tells
us how an historic collection of parasites
collected by Charles Darwin during the
Beagle voyage is being used to understand
how extinct tribes fit into the migratory
story of the Americas.



Super Science Saturday logo

Super Science Saturday: People & Planet

  • 10 March 2018 12-4pm

Join University researchers at our big science bonanza to learn all about Earth and the people that live on it. A bustling science fair for all the family.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Settlers exhibition logo

The ‘Red Lady’ of Paviland: New Science for Britain’s Oldest Human Burial

  • 13 March 2018 6:30-7:30pm

Professor Tom Higham reveals new insights
about the ‘Red Lady’s’ significance as one
of the earliest burials of the Mid-Upper
Palaeolithic period.




A Question of Taste

  • 17 March 2018 9:30am-5pm

Extract your own DNA in our lab to search
for the gene that makes you a sprout-hater
or sprout-lover, and discover its evolutionary
importance. £50.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children





Smith map

The Poetry of Geology

  • 23 March 2018 6:30-8pm

A chance to celebrate William Smith’s 249th
birthday, see the ‘map that changed the
world’ and hear from poets and geologists
he has inspired.



T. rex

Planet Dinosaur

  • 25 March 2018 2-4:30pm

Join children’s author Elaine Wickson for a
dinosaur-packed event inspired by her new
book Planet Stan. Fossil hunt and activities
throughout - just drop in. Book for the talk
at 2pm at oxfordliteraryfestival.org.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

The Origins of Music

  • 5 April 2018 6:30-7:30pm

Anthropologist Dr Iain Morley explores the evolution of our musical capabilities, their relation to other animal species, and their influence on shaping humankind.



Settlers exhibition logo

The Origins of Music

  • 5 April 2018 6:30-7:30pm

Anthropologist Dr Iain Morley explores the
evolution of our musical capabilities, their
relation to other animal species, and their
influence on shaping humankind.



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






01865 272950


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.