Museum of the History of Science

MHS Basement Gallery
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The Museum of the History of Sciencehouses an unrivalled collection of early scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford. The Museum is a research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, offering free access to its permanent displays and a programme of special exhibitions, family-friendly events, talks and tours, along with taught sessions for schools. For those unable to come to Oxford online versions of exhibitions are available, alongside standalone online resources on the website: www.mhs.ox.ac.uk.

The entire collection of the Museum of the History of Science is a Designated Collection of national importance.

Venue Type:

Museum

Opening hours

Tuesday to Sunday: 12:00 - 17:00
Closed on Monday.

Admission charges

Free

Additional info

Our library is open to the public by appointment.

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

This museum occupies the original home of Elias Ashmole's museum, the oldest purpose-built museum in Britain. Its Designated collections are dominated by an exceptional collection of early mathematical and scientific instruments from antiquity to the twentieth century, including the largest collection of astrolabes in the world. A highlight of this group of objects is the earliest known Persian astrolabe, dating from the 10th century.

The early sundial collection comprises 750 examples, the earliest being a portable Roman dial from around 250AD. The microscope collections, an important collection of telescopes, and photographic equipment including items that belonged to Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and TE Lawrence, are further important facets of this remarkable museum.

Particular strengths include early mathematical instruments, optical instruments, and apparatus associated with chemistry, natural philosophy and medicine. There is also a unique reference library for the study of the history of scientific instruments that includes manuscripts, incunabula, prints, printed ephemera and early photographic material.

Collection details

World Cultures, Science and Technology, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Maritime, Decorative and Applied Art, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Einstein blackboard
  • H. G. J. Moseley
  • penicillin
  • Howard Florey
  • Royal Astronomical Society
  • Royal Microscopical Society
  • Earl of Orrery
  • spherical astrolabe
  • Erasmus Habermel
  • Lewis Evans
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Graphic detail for Back from the Dead

Back from the Dead: Demystifying Antibiotics

  • 4 November 2016 — 21 May 2017 *on now

75 years ago the first human trials of penicillin took place. To commemorate this milestone in medical history, Back from the Dead at the Museum of the History of Science traces the miraculous and precarious nature of antibiotics from the 1940s to the present day.

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.
An images of one of the Museum's new board games.

Board Games and Medieval Medicine

  • 18 December 2016 2-4pm

The Museum is helping to develop new board games about medieval Islamic Medicine. Once a month we will be road-testing our games! Come along to give your feedback.
Drop-in. Ages 7+.
This event is running regularly on the last Sunday of every month.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13
  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+

Website

http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/events/

Back from the Dead Special Exhibition Graphic Identity.

Back from the Dead: Curator Tour

  • 13 December 2016 From 2:30pm
  • 28 December 2016 From 1pm
  • 10 January 2017 From 3pm
  • 24 January 2017 From 1pm

75 years ago the first human trials of penicillin took place. To commemorate this milestone in medical history, the Museum's special exhibition Back from the Dead traces the miraculous and precarious nature of antibiotics from the 1940s to the present day. Join this curator-led tour in the Special Exhibitions Gallery to discover how penicillin has shaped Oxford and the World.
No need to book.
Curator-led tours of Back from the Dead are running every two weeks.
Part of the programme of events for the Back from the Dead Special Exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+

Website

http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/backfromthedead/events/

Votives by artist Anna Dumitriu

Back from the Dead: Votive Workshops

  • 14 January 2017 2-4pm
  • 16 February 2017 2-4pm

Make a magical votive offering inspired by your experiences of antibiotics and the exhibition Back from the Dead. Add your piece to an exciting new art installation with artist Anna Dumitriu.
Drop-in. All ages.
Part of the programme of events for the Back from the Dead Special Exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/events/

Young visitor to the Museum holding a paper plate planetarium they have made.

Stars and Planets

  • 10 December 2016 2-4pm

Follow your stars, make an amazing star dial or paper plate planetarium.
Family-Friendly Drop-in. Ages 7-13.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Website

http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/events/

The Star of Bethlehem

  • 13 December 2016 From 7pm

Join Museum Director Dr Silke Ackermann for a journey through science, art and history.
Doors open at 6.30pm.
Please reserve a ticket through Eventbrite.

Suitable for

  • 18+
  • 16-17

Website

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-star-of-bethlehem-tickets-28253907197?aff=BigListings

Museum of the History of Science
Broad Street
Oxford
Oxfordshire
OX1 3AZ
England

Website

www.mhs.ox.ac.uk

E-mail

museum@mhs.ox.ac.uk

Telephone

01865 277280

Fax

01865 277288

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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