City’s Museum re-opens following £2.8m refurbishment

Sep 14 2021

The Museum of Oxford is getting ready to welcome visitors as it prepares to re-open following a £2.8 million refurbishment.

The only museum dedicated to telling the history of the city and its people will re-open on Monday 11 October with new displays of objects, images, oral histories and interactive exhibits.

The redevelopment, which has tripled the size of the museum space, includes a new shop and reception desk, forming a much- improved welcome area and improved facilities for the museum’s 100+ volunteers.

The ground floor features two new galleries which will show the changing story of Oxford through its history and people, from Romans and Anglo-Saxons to the first Cowley factory workers, the infamous Cutteslowe Wall and its rich heritage through times of conflict and industry. Through collection items, video, audio and interactive displays, the exhibitions uncover what makes Oxford such a special place to live, work and study.

Community hub
The new museum galleries and spaces will be a hub for the community to learn about and engage with their local history. It includes new spaces for schools learning, larger gallery spaces for more collection items, interactive displays, community exhibitions and opportunities, family activities and reminiscence workshops.

During the museum’s closure, alongside the £2.8 million capital project, staff have been hosting important projects made with and by members of the community. Extracts of these will form the highlights of an opening exhibition and includes: Windrush Years, looking at the lives of Oxford’s Windrush generation and their descendants, Healing Spaces about child healthcare in Oxford’s hospitals, Queering Spires exploring the history of LGBTIQA+ spaces in the city and Mixing Matters connecting communities and celebrating culinary heritage.

The Museum of Oxford has received support and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Oxford City Council and Arts Council England as well as major donors, trusts and foundations, companies and individuals.

““Amongst such an abundance of museums, the Museum of Oxford is significant in that it is the only one that is exclusively about the people of Oxford. The £2.8 million major investment has helped re-imagine the museum for a new generation and makes it an important cultural focus for our city and communities.
“I look forward to seeing all sorts of people getting involved by going on family trails, taking part in reminiscence projects, understanding the past in school’s workshops, contributing to and exploring community exhibitions and more. It’s a museum for everyone, where everyone can take part.”
Councillor Mary Clarkson, Oxford City Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism


Notes to Editor

Contact details
Please note that any replies directly to this Press Release will go to an unmonitored inbox.
For more information, images and interviews please contact:
Gill Jaggers, Museum of Oxford

Phone: 07961 922301

Museum of Oxford
The Museum of Oxford was established in 1975 in what was previously the city’s main library within the Town Hall building. Its purpose is to tell the history of the city and its people through artefacts and memorabilia from pre-history to the present day.

In 2020 the Museum won the inaugural Sustainable Project of the Year Award sponsored by the National Lottery Heritage Fund for the exhibition Queering Spires. The exhibition looked at the history of the LGBTIQA+ spaces in Oxford and was co-created by an LGBTIQA+ steering group and added to by visitors to the exhibition.

Visitor Safety
The Museum of Oxford is delighted to be welcoming the public back into its galleries. To prioritise the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff people will be asked to wear a face covering (unless exempt) throughout their visit and continue to observe social distancing.

The Museum of Oxford would like to thank the following for their support:
Public and Lottery funders
Oxford City Council
National Heritage Lottery Fund
Arts Council England
DCMS Cultural Recovery Fund
National Lottery Community Fund
Trusts, Foundations, Corporates and individuals
Art Fund
The Arts Society Oxford
Sir Hugo Brunner
The Cumber Family Charitable Trust
The William Delafield Charitable Trust
Doris Field Charitable Trust
Tony Joyce
Peter McQuitty
Museum of Oxford Development Trust
Oxford Civic Society
Oxford Jewish Heritage
Oxfordshire Community Foundation
Oxfordshire County Council
PF Charitable Trust
The Radcliffe Trust
Anne Spoke-Simmonds
Swire Charitable Trust
The Stanton Ballard Trust
The Steel Charitable Trust
St Johns College
The Bartlett Taylor Charitable Trust
CAF Tourle Foundation
Robin Swailes Design and Development