Oxford History Museum free to do in oxford

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Oxford Museum

An Essential On Your 'To Do in Oxford' List

When planning your journey to the historic and vibrant city of Oxford, the ‘museum of natural history’, one of the top ‘oxford museums’, and should be at the top of your list for ‘what to do in Oxford’. Known as the ‘Oxford University Museum of Natural History’, this destination is a must-visit.

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The ‘Oxford University Museum of Natural History’, more formally known as the ‘museum of natural history’, is a world-renowned ‘university museum’. This center for scientific research is a treasure trove of fascinating exhibits housed in a stunning neo-Gothic building.

Oxford natural history museum

The Museum's Rich History

Established in the mid-19th century, the ‘Oxford University Museum of Natural History’, also known as the Oxford Museum, was created as a hub for the University of Oxford’s scientific exploration in the field of ‘natural history’. It was here that the lively debate on evolution took place following the release of Charles Darwin’s revolutionary book, ‘On the Origin of Species’.

A Centre for Groundbreaking Research

oxford history museum looking at bones

The ‘Oxford University Museum of Natural History’, a renowned natural science museum, has long been a crossroads for interdisciplinary learning, hosting a wide array of research studies. Its collections of geological and zoological specimens hold significant international value, supporting an extensive range of natural environment research, teaching, and public engagement programmes.

The Building - A Neo-Gothic Marvel

Outside oxford history museum

The physical structure of the Museum is as captivating as its exhibits. Constructed in the Victorian-era neo-Gothic architectural style, the building’s design was heavily influenced by art critic John Ruskin’s philosophies. Its aesthetic appeal matches the brilliance of its scientific contributions, making it a must-visit ‘art gallery oxford’ on your list.


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A Glimpse into the Past

The exhibits of the university Museum offer an unparalleled journey through the realm of ‘natural history’. It boasts the world’s first scientifically described dinosaur – the Megalosaurus bucklandii, the only soft tissue remains of the extinct dodo, and the infamous Oxfordshire dinosaurs. These exhibits provide valuable insights into the world’s prehistoric past, attracting visitors from all over the globe.

Pleistocene Epoch

Oxfordshire’s Ice Age History

Oxford ice age history museum

The collection of the ‘Oxford University of Natural History’ also includes intriguing evidence of Oxfordshire’s Ice Age history. The Pleistocene Epoch, a period that lasted from 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago, is well-documented through a vast collection of fossils found in the Oxfordshire landscape. These fossils offer a window into the past, enabling us to understand the changing climate’s impact on flora and fauna, a key aspect of ‘natural history’.

The Museum Tower and its Swifts

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The tower of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is not just an architectural feature – it serves as a nesting site for swifts. Each spring, these birds return to the UK after their long migration from Africa, and the museum tower at the University Museum has been their chosen nesting spot for many years. This natural phenomenon at the Museum of Natural History is monitored through a live camera from May to August

The Triassic Mayfly - A Peculiar Eating Habit

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Among the numerous fascinating exhibits at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, one that stands out is the peculiar eating habits of the Triassic Mayfly species. Visitors to the Museum of Natural History are introduced to the intriguing reality that these creatures found the sandy beaches of Mallorca rather delectable!

The Museum’s Recognition

oxford history museum recognition

The contributions of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History to the natural sciences have not gone unnoticed. It was a finalist in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year in 2015, and in 2016, it received the Best of the Best award at the Museums + Heritage Awards. These accolades make the Museum of Natural History a worthy stop for those interested in visiting museums.

Sustainable Dining at 'Eat the Future'

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is also home to a pop-up café, ‘Eat the Future’, run by Vaults and Garden. The café at the University Museum promotes sustainable eating, offering a range of planet-friendly meals, vegetarian and vegan options, and free plant-based milks. Ecolabels on many food and drink items empower visitors to make environmentally-friendly choices.

The Horsebox Café

Outside the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is the Horsebox Café, where visitors can enjoy cakes, snacks, and a variety of hot and cold drinks from 8.30am.

Admission Information

Free admission poster history

One significant advantage of adding the Oxford University Museum of Natural History to your ‘To Do in Oxford’ list – admission is free. This allows visitors to explore the Museum of Natural History’s vast collection and exciting exhibits without any financial constraints. So, if you’re wondering, ‘is the natural history museum free?’ or ‘is natural history museum free?’, the answer is yes, this free museum is open to all.

Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, or simply a curious traveller, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, one of the top museums in Oxford, is a destination that will enrich your ‘To Do in Oxford’ list. Its collections, exhibits, research contributions, and unique dining options make it a place where history, science, and sustainability intersect, offering an enriching and unforgettable experience. The Oxford Natural History Museum, also known as the Oxford History Museum or the Oxford Museum of Natural History, is a must-visit for anyone touring Oxford.

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The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is a fascinating destination that offers a wealth of knowledge and mesmerizing exhibits. It’s a must-visit attraction for tourists, history buffs, and science enthusiasts alike. Additionally, the museum offers sustainable dining options and a unique café experience, fostering an environment of sustainability and environmental consciousness. Admission to the museum is free, making it a great addition to your ‘To Do in Oxford’ list. Whether you’re exploring on your own or as part of an Oxford walking tour, don’t miss out on this enriching experience.


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