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 Museum of the History of Science 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.

In Oxfordshire, the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum details the history of Oxfordshire’s people during the nation’s conflicts at home and overseas and the Oxfordshire Museum nearby, 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! A visit to the Thame Museum, which is set in a lovely old former Magistrate’s court, is packed with displays and experiences reflecting life in around Thame for the past 5000 years.

The Wallingford Museum is a family friendly local history museum with new exhibitions each year as well as resident attractions including ‘The Wallingford Story’, ‘At home with the Queen of Crime: Agatha Christie’, and the ‘Midsomer Murders’ display.

The Story Museum in the heart of Oxford is a wonderland for the little ones. You put on a dressing gown, pick a story and explore the ‘Time for bed’ space, complete with a giant story bed. They have an extreme reading space for children which includes strange and unusual ways of enjoying stories and a giant story-games area.

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.