Happy 160th Birthday to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

This year, one of our favourite museums is celebrating its 160th birthday.   The Oxford University Museum of Natural History was opened 160 years ago.  There would have been lots of events to commemorate this, but 2020 has proved to be an exceptionally challenging year for museums.

The Museum Collections are Housed in a Stunning Example of Victorian Neo-gothic Architecture

The Oxford Museum of Natural History.

The imposing main entrance of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.  The grassy area in front of the main entrance is home to a replica of a theropod dinosaur trackway.  Visitors can take the opportunity to “walk with a dinosaur”.

Picture Credit: Oxford University Museum of Natural History

This museum was established back in 1860 to house the various scientific collections that had been built up at Oxford University.  Prior to all the collections being installed, it hosted one of the most significant scientific debates ever recorded, a clash of ideologies when Thomas Huxley debated the concept of natural selection as postulated by Charles Darwin, with the Bishop of Oxford Samuel Wilberforce.

Over 7 million items our housed in the spectacular Victorian neo-Gothic building with its vaulted arches and beautiful ironwork.  The collection continues to play a prominent role in on-going research with more than 6,000 specimen loans made annually.  It attracts around three-quarters of a million visitors each year, but 2020 has seen it suffering, like so many other institutions, from restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Megalosaurus bucklandi Display at the Museum

Megalosaurus fossil material on display.

The Megalosaurus display case (Oxford Museum of Natural History).

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Highlights of the collection include the world-renowned Oxford Dodo specimen, amazingly beautiful trilobite fossils and the remains of the first scientifically described dinosaur Megalosaurus bucklandi.  The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is back open again after the lockdown period.  Admission is free, but visits have to be booked on-line and once in the building social distancing measures have to be followed.

The Spectacular Interior of the Museum

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History (interior).

The spectacular Victorian ironwork of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Happy birthday to the Museum, many happy returns.

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