Ashmolean Museum Oxford

Ashmolean Museum Oxford

Top Tourist Attractions

Founded in 1683, The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford's museum of art and archaeology. The collection was gifted to the university by the wealthy antiquary Elias Ashmole. The museum's 39 galleries show how civilisations developed as part of a connected world culture. Famous for having one of the best collections of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, majolica pottery, and English silver along with an extensive collection of antiquities from Ancient Egypt and the Sudan.

Ashmolean Museum Oxford

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's second university museum and Britain's first public museum. Its first building was erected in 1678–1683 to house the cabinet of curiosities that Elias Ashmole gave to the University of Oxford in 1677. The museum has incredibly rich and diverse collections from around the globe, ranging from Egyptian mummies and classical sculpture to the Pre-Raphaelites and modern art. Here are the few things listed below that no one ever wants to miss.

Floor Guide to the museum

The Ashmolean Museum has three floors.

  • Lower ground floor, specially themed crossing cultures including Money, Textiles, Reading and Writing and Conservation.
  •  Ground Floor, this floor has all the collections from Egypt to Greece to China.
  •  First Floor, explore the world of Mediterranean, Islamic Middle East, India from A.D 600, Mughal India, and Medieval Cyprus.
  • Second Floor, discover how East and West came in contact with one another through the museum’s Western Art galleries and a collection of Japan and China.
  • Third Floor, collection of the 19th to 21st-century art is extensive and strong in particular in some areas such as Pre-Raphaelites, Pissarro, and Sickert.


A selection of the Ashmolean's most treasured objects are:

  • Alfred Jewel

The Alfred Jewel is a masterpiece of goldsmith's work formed around a tear-shaped slice of rock crystal. Its inscription: ALFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN –' Alfred ordered me to be made’– connects the jewel with King Alfred the Great (r. 871–899) making it among the most significant of royal relics. The dragon-like head at the base of the jewel holds in its mouth a cylindrical socket, within which the actual pointer – perhaps made of ivory–would have been held in place by a rivet. The figure represented in delicate colors in cloisonné enamel on a plaque protected by the rock crystal may represent the sense of sight, an appropriate image for an object intended to help with reading.

  • Jericho Skull

The archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon interpreted the skull. The 9,500-year-old Jericho Skull contains a human cranium packed with soil and covered with plaster to replicate individual facial features. Seashells are used to represent the deceased's eyes. The skull belonged to an adult male and shows evidence of being artificially shaped. It was one way that they could remember their dead, perhaps helping to bring a community together through memories of their ancestors.

  • The Hunt in the Forest

The Hunt in the Forest is a painting by the Italian artist Paolo Uccello, made around 1470.  Paolo di Donor was celebrated in his lifetime as a master of perspective, animals, and landscape; his nickname, Uccello (‘Bird’), alludes to his depictions of the natural world. The painting was intended for a luxurious domestic setting.


  • Antiquities collections

Antiquities contains internationally renowned archaeological collections with strengths in Prehistoric Europe, the Ancient Near East, Ancient Egypt, and Sudan, Minoan Aegean, Mycenaean and Classical Greece, Ancient Cyprus, the Roman world, and Medieval and later Europe

  • Heberden coin room

The Heberden Coin Room is one of the leading international coin cabinets with particular strengths in the fields of Greek, Roman, Celtic, Byzantine, Medieval, Islamic and Chinese coinages. It also holds collections of paper money, tokens, jettons, and commemorative art medals. The Ashmolean has more than 300,000 coins and currency in its extensive collection

  • Cast gallery

The Ashmolean Cast Gallery is one of the oldest, largest, and best-preserved collections of casts of Greek and Roman sculpture in the UK, containing some 900 plaster casts of statues, reliefs, and architectural sculptures.

  • Western art

The Department of Western Art houses outstanding collections of European fine and decorative arts from the Renaissance to the present day. They include Old Master and later paintings, drawings, watercolors and prints, and English and continental ceramics, sculpture, silver, watches, rings, and musical instruments.

  • Eastern art

The Eastern Art Department houses sculpture, textiles, ceramics, and paintings from the Islamic Middle East, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India, and the Himalayas.

Online Collections:

There are currently over 200000 object records available to browse or search in the online collection which includes:

  • Paintings
  • Ceramics
  • Sculpture


There are lots of events, exhibitions, and displays that are conducted from time to time around the year. Few of them are available for members only.

Ashmolean adventure

Featuring 10 objects and paintings, this fun interactive digital guide for families offers an interactive exploration of some of the Museum's most intriguing objects through a variety of multimedia activities. 

Play games and quizzes, enjoy sounds and stories, try out your design and drawing skills – each activity is different because each object is different!

The rooftop Lunch or Afternoon Tea over the picturesque rooftops of Oxford make the experience even more refreshing.