home > South East > Oxford > Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Location: Oxford
Region: South East

Postcode: OX1 3PW

Official Website
Gift Shop
Cafe
Accessibility
Toilets
Visit Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Nestled in Oxford's heart, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History stands as a beacon of knowledge, showcasing the planet's vast wonders from prehistoric times to modern-day marvels within its neo-Gothic walls.

Visitor Information: Oxford University Museum of Natural History

  • Oxford University Museum of Natural History
    Description

    Founded in 1860, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is a testament to the wonders of the natural world. Housed in a neo-Gothic structure, the museum is not just a place of academic interest; it’s also an architectural marvel. Located in the heart of Oxford, this iconic institution showcases the fascinating tapestry of our planet’s history, encompassing everything from the prehistoric era to present-day biodiversity.

    Architectural Beauty: Before even viewing the exhibits, visitors are often struck by the museum’s architectural beauty. The main hall, with its towering iron pillars and intricately carved stone columns, is a spectacle in itself. Each column showcases different British stones, while the glass-roofed court allows natural light to illuminate the exhibits.

    Notable Collections

    1. Dinosaur Fossils: The museum boasts a formidable collection of dinosaur fossils, including a complete Iguanodon skeleton. The array of fossils offers insights into the giants that once ruled the Earth.

    2. The Hope Diamond: One of the museum’s prized possessions is the famous Hope Diamond, a crystal-clear blue diamond with a storied history that spans continents and centuries.

    3. Insect Collection: For entomology enthusiasts, the museum’s insect collection is unparalleled. It features thousands of specimens from around the world, providing a comprehensive look at insect evolution and diversity.

    4. Mineral Galleries: The mineral galleries are a visual treat, showcasing a dazzling array of colours and structures. They offer an insight into the Earth’s geological processes and the marvels they produce.

    Interactive Learning: The museum places a strong emphasis on interactive learning. Its display on evolution, for instance, provides a hands-on experience, allowing visitors to trace the path of evolution through touch-screen panels and real-life specimens. Regular workshops and talks cater to both children and adults, fostering an environment of constant learning.

    Conservation Efforts: Beyond its role as a museum, the institution is also involved in significant conservation work. Researchers attached to the museum have been involved in several global projects, working towards biodiversity conservation and understanding climate change’s impacts.

    The Oxford University Museum of Natural History isn’t just a building that houses specimens; it’s a living entity that educates, conserves, and continues to push the boundaries of our understanding of the natural world. Whether you’re an academic, a student, or just a curious visitor, this museum promises a journey through time, unveiling the mysteries and wonders of the world we live in.

  • Highlights
    Not to be missed when visiting

    Dinosaur Skeletons: Marvel at the awe-inspiring skeletons of giant dinosaurs, providing a tangible link to the prehistoric past.

    The Hope Entomological Collections: One of the largest insect collections in the world, it is a treasure trove for those fascinated by entomology.

    Mineral Collections: Discover an array of stunning minerals and gemstones, each telling the tale of Earth’s geological history.

    Evolutionary Displays: From the origins of life to the evolution of humans, trace the intricate web of our planet’s living history.

    Neo-Gothic Architecture: The museum building itself is a masterpiece, with its towering spires, intricate stonework, and the famous glass roof.

    Huxley Room: Named after the famous debate between Thomas Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce on evolution, it’s a significant site for the history of science.

    Interactive Displays: Engage with interactive exhibits that make learning an enthralling experience for visitors of all ages.

    Temporary Exhibitions: The museum regularly hosts various temporary exhibitions, ensuring there’s always something new to explore.

    Microscopic Imagery: Dive into the minuscule world with cutting-edge imaging, showcasing the marvels that escape the naked eye.

    Educational Programs: From lectures to workshops, the museum offers a variety of educational programs for both children and adults, promoting a deeper understanding of natural history.

FAQs

  • What are the opening hours of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History?

    The museum typically opens from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, but hours may vary on bank holidays.

  • Is there an admission fee?

    Admission to the main museum is free, but there might be charges for special exhibitions or events.

  • Is the museum accessible for visitors with disabilities?

    Yes, the museum is wheelchair accessible, and there are facilities for visitors with disabilities.

  • Is there a gift shop on the premises?

    Yes, there’s a gift shop where visitors can buy souvenirs, books, and educational materials related to the exhibits.

  • How long should I plan for my visit?

    A typical visit can last anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on one’s interest level.

  • What other attractions are nearby?

    The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is located in the heart of Oxford, a city brimming with historic and cultural landmarks. Here are some nearby attractions that visitors might consider exploring:

    The Pitt Rivers Museum: Located right behind the Museum of Natural History, this museum houses a fascinating collection of anthropological and archaeological artifacts from around the world.

    The Bodleian Library: One of the world’s most famous libraries, it offers stunning architecture and a treasure trove of books and manuscripts.

    Radcliffe Camera: An iconic part of the Oxford skyline, this building is part of the Bodleian Library and is notable for its distinctive circular shape.

    The Sheldonian Theatre: Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it’s used for university ceremonies and occasional concerts.

    Ashmolean Museum: A short walk away, this is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, featuring world-class collections from ancient times to the present.

    Botanic Garden: Oxford’s serene spot filled with a diverse collection of plants. It’s the oldest botanic garden in the UK.

    Magdalen College and its Deer Park: One of the most beautiful of Oxford’s colleges, with picturesque grounds and a historic deer park.

    Christ Church and its Cathedral: Another iconic Oxford college, known for its grand architecture and being a filming location for the Harry Potter movies.

    Bridge of Sighs: An Oxford landmark, this skyway joins two parts of Hertford College.

    University Parks: A spacious park offering a green oasis in the city, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Explore Nearby