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

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.

 

OPPORTUNITIES

The University Engagement Programme offers a number of opportunities for members of faculty, early-career researchers and undergraduates to engage with the Ashmolean’s collections and curators.

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, 2016-17

'I really loved the opportunity to learn more about teaching generally (not just object-based) and to learn/discuss with the other Fellows. I feel that I have improved as a teacher.'
Ashmolean Junior Teaching Fellow, Third Year DPhil Student, 2018

'I particularly liked the collaborative atmosphere at the Krasis seminars. I think there was a great balance between undergraduates, graduate students, and fellows, and I felt that everyone's voice was valued equally. The physical setup of the room was certainly conducive to this collaboration, as all the participants appeared on an equal footing when dispersed around the table. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to interact directly with some objects in the museum.'
Krasis Scholar, Third Year Undergraduate Student, 2018

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