The Ashmolean is first and foremost a University museum. We are committed to providing access to our world class collections and expertise for teaching and research. Our collections are an exceptional resource to enrich all kinds of academic enquiry, and our curators' scholarship contributes to teaching across the full range of the Oxford curriculum.
University teaching is not a new enterprise for the Ashmolean. 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 in the University at large.
Since 2012, the Ashmolean University Engagement Programme, generously funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, has worked to explore the potential of the Ashmolean as a resource for teaching beyond 'traditional' museum subjects such as Egyptology, Classics and History of Art. The result has been to broaden the range of subjects benefitting from object-centred learning and to enable more cross-disciplinary partnerships to flourish among the Museum’s peerless collections.
As well as delivering courses that reflect their own specialisms, curators now collaborate with academic colleagues from departments as diverse as Medieval and Modern Languages, Geography, History, Oriental Studies, Anthropology, Medicine, Music and English Literature.
These collaborations have yielded a raft of new opportunities not only for students but also for their tutors to engage more deeply with the products of material and visual culture. As well as contributing to both undergraduate and graduate degree programmes, the Ashmolean has become a centre for members of faculty and early career scholars to develop their skills in object-based teaching and learning.