Oxford University Museum of Natural History by Ian Wallman

Museums and Bodleian Reopen to Public

The University’s Museums and the Bodleian Library have reopened from the 2nd December to the public following the lifting of national lockdown restrictions. 

The Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the History of Science Museum and the Museum of Natural History, which have been closed since the imposition of lockdown on the 2nd November, will reopen throughout the week as Oxford moves into Tier Two restrictions. The Ashmolean will reopen on Wednesday 2nd December, the History of Science Museum will reopen on the 3rd December, and the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Museum of Natural History will reopen on Saturday 5th December. 

The Weston Library, which temporarily closed over November will also reopen on the 2nd December, alongside the Bodleian library. Visitors can participate in a socially-distanced tour of the library, which has been open only to students during the lockdown. 

The glasshouses at the Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, which has remained open to visitors to the outside gardens over the lockdown, will also reopen on Wednesday 2nd December. The annual Oxford Botanic Garden Christmas Fair will, however, be held online this year, and is open from 30th November-13 December. This year’s botanical Christmas display can be found in the Conservatory. 

Entry to all gardens, libraries and museums will be ticketed. Tickets must be pre-booked online in advance of the visit. One way routes are in place in some rooms, and visitors are required to wear face coverings during their visit. These measures are in place to prevent overcrowding and to allow for social distancing. 

For all sites, entrance is free, with the exception of the Botanic Garden, which is free to University staff, students and Annual Pass Holders. In 2019 the sites welcomed more than 3.3 million visitors. 

Exhibitions this week include:

  • Precious and Rare: Islamic Metalwork from The Courtauld at the History of Science Museum provides a modern day interpretation on Islamic metalwork spanning the 11th to 16th centuries and features rare and intricate objects.
  • Helen Muspratt Photographer at the Weston Library explores an extraordinary body of work in many different styles and genres from experimental photography using techniques such as solarisation, to social documentary and studio portraiture.
  • Truth to Nature explores the 160-year history of the Museum of Natural History and its incredible building.
  • The Ashmolean Museum will feature a range of displays: looking at how technology uncovered the history of Roman gold coins; on 18thand 19thcentury Greek embroideries; and on the work of renowned modern ceramicist Hans Coper. A new exhibition entitled ‘Owning the Past: the Making of Iraq’ opens on 12 December.