Museums in Oxfordshire
There’s an excellent choice of museums in Oxfordshire. Starting with the Ashmolean Museum which opened in 1683 and is Britain’s first museum and the world’s first university museum. It holds a vast selection of treasures dating from 500,000 BC to the present day including Egyptian mummies and the world’s greatest collection of Raphael drawings. The Weston Library exhibits some of the Bodleian Library’s greatest treasures, from ancient manuscripts to a letter from Albert Einstein. Founded in 1884, the Pitt Rivers Museum displays over half a million archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world and all time periods. The Museum of Natural History, founded in 1860 now holds the University of Oxford’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens. Last but not least, the History of Science Museum is the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building and houses an unrivaled collection of early scientific instruments and is also home to a blackboard used by Albert Einstein during a lecture in Oxford in 1931. Located in Oxford’s Grade II listed town hall, the Museum of Oxford is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of Oxford and its people and is a great introduction of the city.
In Oxfordshire, the Oxfordshire Museum is a large 18th-century house in the heart of the historic town of Woodstock, and is home to a Dinosaur garden with Jurassic planting, including the rare Wollemi Pine, and life-size Megalosaur – as big as a bus! The Henley River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames showcases the art and stories of the river including the enchanting family-friendly Wind in the Willows, the history of Henley, riverbank wildlife conservation, and the sport of rowing.
The Blenheim Art Foundation regularly brings works of international contemporary artists to Blenheim Palace, and the palace’s very own collection or artworks is exceptional.
Just across the border, the Silverstone Interactive Museum is an immersive visitor attraction which celebrates the past, present and future of Silverstone and British motor racing. Over 60 hands-on exhibits give visitors the opportunity to try out a variety of activities – from operating a wind tunnel, taking part in a pit stop and climbing into a replica Grand Prix car.