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

Closed Easter Sunday and Christmas

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.

Presenting... The Other Audubon

  • 26 January — 17 March 2016 *on now

John James Audubon is famous for his paintings of North American birds. Less widely-known is that his son, John Woodhouse Audubon, made many illustrations for his father’s The Quadrupeds of North America.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/visiting/presentintro.htm

Kurt Jackson

Kurt Jackson: Bees (and the odd wasp) in my Bonnet

  • 18 March — 29 September 2016

Kurt Jackson’s art is a celebration of the natural world. Recently he has been inspired by the bees he encounters at home in Cornwall and across the UK. This exhibition brings together paintings, sculpture and Museum collections to explore the diverse and beautiful world of bees.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Presenting... Bee Diversity

  • 18 March — 16 May 2016

Showcasing the incredible diversity of the world’s bees - from the largest, to the smallest, to the most beautiful.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/visiting/presentintro.htm

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

Curious Cubs

  • 9 February 2016 10:30am-12:30pm *on now
  • 8 March 2016 10:30am-12:30pm

Pick up an activity bag and explore the Museum with Pebbles, Huxley and Smokey.

Suitable for

  • 0-4

Science Saturdays

  • 23 January — 5 March 2016 *on now

Investigate real natural history specimens with University of Oxford scientists. Each Saturday 23 January - 5 March, 2-4pm.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Website

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

Sensing Culture

  • 28 April 2016 11am-12pm

Hands-on tour highlighting different aspects of the collections. Part of the HLF-funded ‘Sensing Culture’ project with the RNIB. To book contact 01865 282456 or outreach@museums.ox.ac.uk

Admission

To book contact 01865 282456 or outreach@museums.ox.ac.uk

Website

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

Coleopterist Day

  • 13 February 2016 10:30am-5pm

A day all about beetles - talks, a workshop, and a visit to the collections and library.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Website

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

Eat or be Eaten!

  • 15 — 17 February 2016

Explore the amazing skills of attack and defence. Crafts, object handling, and a family-friendly talk each day at 3pm.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Website

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

Super Science Saturday

  • 12 March 2016 12-4pm

A family science fair exploring the Museum's collection. Investigate, experiment and discover all about life on Earth with real scientists from the University of Oxford and other natural history organisations.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

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

DNA Workshop

  • 13 March 2016 10am-4pm

Investigate the genetics of taste by working with your own DNA in this practical workshop with research techniques used by scientists all over the world. Tickets £45 Book at: www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Admission

£45

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Our Perception of Pain

  • 15 March 2016 7-8pm

Can we really see someone’s pain? Is it true that you get the pain you expect? And how do anaesthetics produce altered states of consciousness so we don’t feel pain? Professor Irene Tracey discusses as part of International Brain Awareness Week.
Free, book at: www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

A Level Genes Day

  • 18 March 2016 10am-4pm

A day of talks and activities about genes, gene technology, and evolution. Workshop and talks, A level biology students but interested adults also welcome. Free, book at: www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

British Entomological & Natural History Society Day

  • 19 March 2016 10am-4pm

A day of talks on insects, incorporating the BENHS Annual General Meeting. Open to non-members too. www.benhs.org.uk

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Website

http://www.benhs.org.uk

Madagascar: The Geology and Zoology of a Gondwanan Island

  • 20 March 2016 12-5pm

Explore the remarkable diversity of plants and animals of Madagascar and how this unique biota is inextricably tied to the geological history of the island. Tickets £55: www.bit.ly/mnhmadagascar

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£55

Website

https://www.conted.ox.ac.uk/courses/details.php?id=C100-103

Hive Alive!

  • 4 — 6 April 2016

Create a buzz about bees and find out why bees are the best. Add to our giant hive and make a bee creation of your very own.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Beehive Spotlight

  • 12 April 2016 2:30-3:30pm

An informal talk about our observation bee hive. A chance to ask the questions you’ve been buzzing to ask about bees.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Skin and Bones

  • 16 April 2016 2-4pm

Identify the mystery animals around the Museum with the first hands-on activity devised by the Museum’s new Youth Forum.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

The Beekeeper’s Year

  • 21 April 2016 7-8:30pm

Join Mark Blanchette of Oxfordshire Beekeepers Association for tales from the hive. Find out how the colony changes during the year and discuss threats to local and international bee populations. £3, book at: www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Admission

£3

Website

http://www.bit.ly/mnhevents

Recent Changes to the Tree of Life: Rewriting The Ancestor’s Tale

  • 28 April 2016 6-7pm

Meet Professor Richard Dawkins and Dr Yan Wong to hear how recent changes to the tree of life influenced their rewriting of the best selling book The Ancestor’s Tale. Includes a chance to buy a signed copy of the new book. Free, book at:
www.bit.ly/mnhevents

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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