Oxford University Museum of Natural History

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Founded in 1860 as the centre for scientific study at the University of Oxford, the museum now holds internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens.

Henry Acland – the medic and educator who established the museum – enlisted John Ruskin to oversee the design, who in turn asked the members of the newly formed Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood for their advice. The resulting neo-Gothic building is 'a cathedral to nature', and perhaps the purest architectural expression of Pre-Raphaelitism.

In 2014 the museum reopened its doors after a 14 month closure to restore its Victorian iron and glass roof. The £4m project transformed the public space, with new LED lighting illuminating the collection and a major conservation of the suspended whale skeletons. Oxford University Museum of Natural History was one of the finalists for Museum of the Year 2015.

Look out for The Wild Escape at museums and galleries in the next few months. Many have special events, or you can use our audio introduction to help children get involved at any cultural venue.

Visiting with children?

Use our audio introduction to inspire a visit to any museum, gallery or historic house local to you. Then, just send us your child’s animal artwork when it's finished and we'll add it to the epic collective artwork that launches on Earth Day 2023.
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The more you see, the more we do.

The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.

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