The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683. Our world famous collections range from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art, telling human stories across cultures and across time.
The Ashmolean’s collections are extraordinarily diverse, representing most of the world’s great civilisations, with objects dating from 500,000 BC to the present day. Among many riches we have the world’s greatest collection of Raphael drawings, the most
important collection of Egyptian pre-Dynastic sculpture and ceramics outside Cairo, the only great Minoan collection in Britain, outstanding Anglo-Saxon treasures, and the foremost collection of modern Chinese painting in the Western world.
OUR VISION AND VALUES
To be in every way the world’s greatest university museum of art and archaeology
Constantly questioning what we do and challenging ourselves to do better
Being intellectually ambitious and coherent
Ensuring the encounter of our audiences with our collections (both in the museum and online) is as inspiring, meaningful and rewarding as possible
Being a powerhouse of teaching and research
Making the most of our university and encouraging our university to make the most of us
HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM
The Ashmolean Museum opened its doors in 1683 as Britain’s first public museum and the world’s first university museum.
Elias Ashmole founded the Museum and gave it as a gift to the University ‘because the knowledge of Nature is very necessary to human life and health’.
2017 was a remarkable year for the Ashmolean Museum. The 400th anniversary of the birth of our founder – Elias Ashmole – the year saw a spectacular new gallery to house the founding collections; a game-changing and award-winning Raphael exhibition; two exceptional acquisitions; record visitor numbers; huge public events; and much more.
Watch our video, below, to hear more about it. Subtitles are available by clicking on the captions icon when the video starts to play.