Museums, exhibitions and tours
Weston Library

Museums, exhibitions and tours

Many of the University’s most iconic buildings are open to the public.

Our museums are famous for their collections, the buildings they are housed in, and their history. They include the Ashmolean Museum - the first public museum in Britain - whose collections include the most important group of Raphael drawings in the world. The Grade I listed Museum of Natural History houses 7 million geological and zoological specimens, including the fossil bones of the first dinosaur ever to be scientifically described. The History of Science Museum - housed in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building - contains the world’s finest collection of historic scientific instruments. Finally, the Pitt Rivers Museum, one of the leading archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world, houses 600,000 objects celebrating human creativity and cultural diversity.

Admission is free to the permanent collections of all four museums. The museums also host exhibitions throughout the year, many of which offer free admission.

Our Grade I listed Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, hosts the University’s ceremonial events. These include the annual Encaenia ceremony, where honorary degrees are awarded, Congregation (the University’s governing body) and graduation ceremonies. The theatre can be hired for concerts and lectures, and tours are available.

Tours are also available of the Old Bodleian Library, which includes the 15th-century Divinity School and the 17th-century Convocation House and Chancellor’s Court.

The tower of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin offers panoramic views of the city, including Bodleian Library’s famous Radcliffe Camera and the beautiful All Souls and Brasenose colleges.

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