Ashmolean Museum

Founded in 1683, at a time when the idea of the 'museum' was brand new, Britain's first public museum, the Ashmolean, was initially the home of a collection of miscellaneous manmade and natural specimens and curiosities from every corner of the world, which was presented to the University by the wealthy antiquarian and polymath, Elias Ashmole.

The neoclassical architecture of the museum dates back to 1845, when it was built to house the University's art collection. The archaeological collections were moved into the building in the 1890s to form what is, today, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology – one of the most important museums of art and archaeology in Britain.

The collections span the civilisations of east and west, charting the aspirations of humankind from the Neolithic era to the present day. Among its treasures are the world's largest collection of Raphael drawings, the most important collection of pre-Dynastic Egyptian material in Europe, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, the finest Anglo-Saxon collections outside the British Museum and the foremost collection of modern Chinese art in the Western world.

Exhibitions and events

Tricks of Trade: Magic and Money in Context

Event until 16.12.2018 17:00

Money can be ‘magical’ in more ways than one – it multiplies, it grows and it can buy happiness and bring forth plenitude. This display will explore how money and magic come together in interesting...

Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft

Event until 06.01.2019 17:00

The Ashmolean’s autumn exhibition explores the history of a fascinating cultural phenomenon – magic. SPELLBOUND will display 180 objects from 12th-century Europe to newly commissioned contemporary...

Antinous: Boy made God

Event until 24.02.2019 17:00

Antinous was a boy-favourite of the Emperor Hadrian. He drowned in the Nile in A.D. 130, and the emperor founded a city in middle Egypt in his honour called Antinoopolis or ‘Antinous City’. A...

No Offence: Exploring LGBTQ+ Histories

Event until 02.12.2018 17:00

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, this British Museum touring exhibition explores the ways same-sex desire, love and gender diversity have been expressed culturally...

When East and West Collided: 150th Anniversary of the Meiji Restoration

Event on 23.11.2018 13:00

With Lesley Downer, Historian and Author The Meiji Restoration was a revolution that transformed Japan from a feudal to a modern society. In this talk, explore the causes and consequences of this...

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Educational programs

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