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:


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.
Orchid Cuckoo Bee from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History


  • 27 May 2016 — 29 January 2017 *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.

Suitable for

  • Any age



Oxford Photographic Society

  • 22 October 2016 — 22 January 2017 *on now

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



Artweeks Arctic

  • 11 November 2016 — 29 January 2017 *on now

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

Suitable for

  • Any age



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



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

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children



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.