Venture outside of London and explore the full variety of museums in the rest of the United Kingdom. Only one hour from London by train, you can find yourself in Oxford; a city which contains some of Europe’s oldest museums. Of these museums, I prefer the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, located in an 1800s neo-gothic building on Parkes Road.
At the museum, visitors are treated to the sight of giant dinosaur skeletons artistically framed by neo-gothic pointed arches. Activities for children abound; there are touchable objects, interactive maps and a dedicated family-friendly Sunday programme featuring themed backpacks and crafts.
In addition to its family appeal, the museum collection straddles the historic and the innovative. While the Atrium area showcases natural objects in traditional cases, the upper level is, literally, an active beehive where visitors can observe honey being produced. The museum’s latest exhibit, Out of the Deep, features two extinct maritime reptiles that once roamed the ancient Oxford seascape. Additional collection highlights include the famed dodo bird.
In deference to Oxford’s most famous literary figure, author Lewis Carroll, The Oxford University Museum of Natural History reveals an Alice in Wonderland-esque twist. The museum itself acts as a physical portal to another amazing collection housed contiguously at the Pitt Rivers Museum. So, follow Alice down the rabbit hole and begin your Oxford exploration with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Contact Information:Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Amy Hoose currently works at the Imperial War Museums. She has previously worked with such institutions as the British Museum, the Augusta Museum of History, The Polar Museum, The Smithsonian Institution’s American History Museum, The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The National Cryptologic Museum, and The Library of Congress. Her specialty is expanding education and outreach.