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

Old Traditions, New Visions: Art in India and Pakistan After 1947

Event until 18.03.2018 0:00

After the political freedom gained in 1947, Indian and Pakistani artists faced a significant challenge to express the new nations’ distinctive character and visions. Artists sought new modes of...

Qu Leilei: A Chinese Artist in Britain

Event until 15.04.2018 0:00

Contemporary Chinese artist Qu Leilei (b. 1951), now based in London, was a founding member of the avant-garde ‘Stars Group’ in the late 1970s, and immigrated to England in 1985. This exhibition...

ON THE OCEAN: THE MEDITERRANEAN AND THE ATLANTIC FROM PREHISTORY TO 1500 AD

Event on 02.03.2018 13:00

With Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology, University of Oxford. For humans, the sea has always been an alien and dangerous environment. So how and why did we become...

GREEK VASE PAINTERS AND THE TROJAN WAR

Event on 24.03.2018 14:00

With David Studdard, Historian and Author The Trojan War inspired the works of many Greek poets and dramatists. Using a wealth of illustrations, David Stuttard shows how vase painters, too,...

ETRUSCAN CITIES: HOUSES FOR THE LIVING AND THE DEAD

Event on 28.03.2018 14:00

The Etruscans had a rich and distinctive culture, once dominating Italy before they were overshadowed by the rise of Rome. This series looks at the material culture of this enigmatic people to gain a...

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