'A beautiful early morning captured this architectural gem without distraction'. J J Marshall
The Oxford University Museum of Natural History was designed as a ‘cathedral to science’ and houses the University's scientific collections of zoological, entomological and geological specimens. The Museum itself is a Grade 1 listed building (built 1861), renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the dodo, and the swifts in the tower. The Museum's permanent exhibits are devoted to the history and diversity of life on earth, and to the rocks and minerals from which it is formed.
Adjoining the museum (and entered via it) is the Pitt Rivers Museum built in 1886 to house the 20,000 anthropological artefacts left to them by Lieutenant-General Augustus Lane Fox Pitt Rivers. In the 19th century it was important to separate objects made by the hand of God (natural history) from those made by the hand of man (anthropology).
The museum is an active department of the University of Oxford and supports research and teaching in archaeology and anthropology. It also welcomes members of the public, is family-friendly, and 200,000 people visit each year to gaze in some astonishment at the rich variety of artefacts on show. A café has recently been added to the services on offer.