UNIVERSITY TEACHING

The Ashmolean Museum is deeply committed to providing access to its world class collections and expertise for teaching and research. Our collections are an exceptional resource to enrich teaching across academic disciplines, and our curators provide scholarly research and displays which act as a bridge between the University’s academic community and a broad public. 

OUR TEACHING

Ashmolean curators teach in core and option courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Last year Ashmolean curatorial staff taught a range of seminars, lectures, classes and tutorials, with an overwhelming emphasis on object engagement and study. Twenty curatorial staff have taught undergraduate courses in subjects which reflect their expertise: Archaeology and Anthropology; Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology, Prehistory, Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies; Ancient and Modern History; Classics; History of Art; Fine Art; and Islamic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese Art and Archaeology. In addition, Ashmolean Curators and UEP members have collaborated with the faculties in developing and contributing to courses and papers in the wider curriculum. The majority of Ashmolean curators are also members of Faculties, not only teaching but offering tutoring and thesis supervision to DPhil and MPhil/MSc students. 

In addition curatorial staff have supervised 25 DPhil and 23 MPhil/MSc students.

 

 

WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY

'As we worked with Ashmolean objects and paid attention to their connections with our topic, I began to realise that they would yield a great deal of information about the circulation of people and ideas – information that I could not possibly get from texts. I am currently writing my essay in a much more thoughtful way and think it is richer for the experience. I don’t think I could go back to an 'object-less' world.'
MSt Student, Early Modern History

'I have really enjoyed this paper because it was so different to anything else that we have done/will do. The things I have read and learnt have made me more aware of the infiltration of material culture in literature, and I will now automatically read with more of an eye to this. I am also interested in manuscript culture and books-as-things; so this course has helped me to think about how this might overlap with things-in-books. I would certainly chose to do this course again.'
Y2 Undergraduate, English

‘There is something really special about encountering objects that may have been owned or made by people you are studying, and becoming aware of a whole world that is only vaguely present in the texts, but must have been hugely important to individuals trying to make sense of it. When I look at a drawing of a specimen made by someone in the 17th century I have to recognise that their science isn’t my science, and what they saw isn’t what I see. That has fascinating implications for the way I do research, and maybe for how subjective that research is.’
Y3 Undergraduate, Plant Sciences 

 

FOR FACULTY

Faculty enquiries are welcome: the Ashmolean offers focused gallery tours of the collections which can be tailored to suit a course topic or theme, and subject to availability can arrange a handling session for up to ten students in one of our Study Rooms. The Ashmolean Print Room welcomes small teaching groups to view its world-class collections of prints and drawings,  
Please contact the relevant Study Centre or Print Room, and complete the booking form.   .

 

UNIVERSITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMME (UEP)

The University Engagement Programme (UEP), funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The University Engagement Programme (UEP) promotes cross-disciplinary teaching and learning through the Museum’s collections, working with faculty colleagues in the design, teaching and assessment of integrated papers, and the development of the practice and theory of object teaching for academics.  

Last year the programme provided more than 500 handling and gallery sessions to 3,500 students in subjects ranging from Medicine to English to Economics. The UEP team has also provided curriculum teaching as co-convenors, assessors and examiners in departments across the Humanities and Social Sciences.  The Mellon Foundation funding allowed us to develop new courses such as an MPhil course for the Faculty of Oriental Studies in Material and Visual Culture of South Asia; a special option on Medicine and Visual Culture in Clinical Medicine; an MSc core option (taught with both Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers Museum collections) in Anthropology; and undergraduate and Masters Papers on the Eighteenth century in English Literature. 

 

ASHMOLEAN FACULTY FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has generously supported the establishment of the Ashmolean’s Faculty Fellowships, being offered through 2020. Members of Oxford’s faculties and departments are invited to apply for a term’s residency in the Museum, through the mechanism of a partial buy-out of their teaching time for the term. Fellows are given training in object handling, collections database access, and other support, and are brought into the daily life of the Museum. Fellows undertake to integrate objects into their future course teaching, enjoying access to collections and curatorial expertise as part of their preparation and selection of object groups. 
The Museum hosts up to six Fellows per year, usually two per term, across the curatorial departments. Fellowships have been awarded to faculty in fields such as Archaeology, Economic History, Asian Studies, Classics, English, Business Studies, Modern Languages, and History, and are open to any discipline. If you are interested in becoming a Faculty Fellow, please  email facultyfellows@ashmus.ox.ac.uk

 

ONLINE OBJECT STUDY

The Ashmolean is a founder member and an active promoter of Cabinet, Oxford’s award-winning online study and revision platform for university teaching, and for innovative collections projects. Any paper taught with objects from the Museum’s collections can be uploaded on to the Cabinet site, to enable students to pursue further object and text study within a richly interactive digital environment. 

List of site pages