Museum of the History of Science
Museum of the History of Science
The Museum of the History of Science houses an unrivalled collection of early scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. An active public museum, MHS offers an extensive programme of exhibitions, family-friendly events, public lectures, gallery tours and much more, along with teaching 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.
Sat 10.00 - 17.00
Closed: Christmas and New Year
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.
World Cultures, Science and Technology, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Maritime, Decorative and Applied Art, Archives
Key artists and exhibits
- Einstein blackboard
- H. G. J. Moseley
- Howard Florey
- Royal Astronomical Society
- Royal Microscopical Society
- Earl of Orrery
- spherical astrolabe
- Erasmus Habermel
- Lewis Evans
- Designated Collection
Unlocking the Brain
- 11 — 14 March 2014 *on now
Try some fun brain games and interactive experiments with University of Oxford neuroscientists.
Left and Right Brain: Myths and Reality
- 13 March 2014 7-8pm
Professor Dorothy Bishop from the University of Oxford asks how our brains vary, and whether it matters. Q and A session will be held at the end of the lecture.
- 15 March 2014 10am-4pm
Hands-on activities, demonstrations and challenges suitable for all. No need to book - just drop in! Part of the Reactions festival.
Symmetry and the Double Helix
- 18 March 2014 7-8pm
Professor Brian Sutton of King’s College London reveals the crucial role of crystallography in the story, and shows how an understanding of symmetry provided a vital clue that led to the structure. You also will have the opportunity to ask him questions at the end of the talk.
- 29 March 2014 12-4pm
Use microscopes and lenses to observe tiny things; make drawings and magical monoprints.
No need to book - just drop in!
Optogenetics: Controlling the Brain with Light
- 2 April 2014 7-8:30pm
This revolutionary new technique helps scientists understand the brain in health and disease. Optogenetics pioneer Professor Gero Miesenboeck from the University of Oxford explains what it can do. you will also have the opportunity to ask him questions at the end of the talk.
Geek for All
- 16 May 2014 7-10pm
Make your own geek specs, try out the Geek Confession booth and see our new exhibition Geek is Good - activities, games and events for all.
- Any age