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.
The Ashmolean has always been a teaching museum. From its foundation in the late 17th century, when the first Museum building incorporated a laboratory, the scholarship of Ashmolean Curators has played a vital role in the education of Oxford students and the shaping of the Oxford curriculum.
Every year, curators supervise doctoral and masters research, convene seminars, give lectures and hold classes and tutorials rooted in their specialist expertise, both in the Museum’s study rooms and galleries and in the University at large. Curators teach whole courses that reflect their specialisms and contribute to many others, collaborating with academic colleagues in subject areas that can be enriched by access to the Museum’s holdings, for example Archaeology and Anthropology, Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Ancient and Modern History, Classics, History of Art, Fine Art and Islamic, Indian, Chinese and Japanese studies.
Since 2012, the University Engagement Programme, generously funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, has worked to explore the wider potential of the Ashmolean as a resource for teaching across the University. The result has been to broaden the range of subjects benefitting from object-centred teaching and to enable more cross-disciplinary partnerships to flourish among the Museum’s peerless collections.
These collaborations have yielded new courses, reconfigurations of existing papers and a raft of new opportunities for students and their tutors to engage with the products of material and visual culture. As result, the Museum now regularly provides teaching in Geography, English, Medieval and Modern Languages (French, Italian, German), Neurology, Psychiatry and Theology as well has having developed new opportunities for members of faculty and early career scholars to develop their skills in object-based teaching and learning.