University of Oxford

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This is an archive site and is not updated. It represents works conducted by Oxford University Museums funded by Arts Council England between 2012-2018. For information about our current work please visit


Oxford University Museums Partnership is one of 21 Major Partner Museum Services nationwide funded by Arts Council England to support excellence and resilience within regional museums. 

Comprising the Ashmolean Museum, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum (visit the Our Museums page), the museums hold exceptional collections representing the history of the natural world and most cultures from around the globe. The collections are made up of 8.5 million objects, all forming Designated Collections, and complemented by important archival materials. Collectively the museums receive over 2 million visitors a year, making them some of the most popular museums outside of London, and the most visited University Museums in the UK.

Our vision for 2015-2018

"Crossing sciences, arts, cultures and time, the exceptional diversity, depth and history of our collections inspire a passion to understand our past, present and future worlds."

From our position at the heart of the University, our vision is for Oxford University Museums to pioneer ways of developing and sharing knowledge and expertise so that everyone, wherever they are in the world, can engage with and find inspiration through our collections, activities and scholarship.

We will establish ourselves as resilient leaders, delivering innovative programmes to diverse audiences, and nurturing dynamic partnerships within the University, the sector and with the public.

Our MPM activity for 2015-2018

Major Partner Museum funding is invested across the museums to support activity including audience engagement, digital development, collections care and display and innovation. We also invest in the professional development of our staff through initiatives like the CPD Fund and the Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is a modest pot of money to which colleagues working within the museums can bid to support activity that supports engaging new audiences or experimenting with new ways of working. This enables colleagues to take risks, working with ideas beyond the remit of their core budget and deliverables, and provides excellent professional development for more junior members of staff who can lead on projects. Find our more about the Innovation Fund.

As Major Partner Museums the Partnership also has broader sector responsibilities, with a national leadership role around the themes of Excellence and Higher Education. Key to this is our programme of knowledge exchange events, a series of conferences and workshops on areas such as Commercial Enterprise, Fundraising a& Philanthropy, Digital Engagement and Leadership. Find our more about our events programme. Also central to our sector leadership activity is Oxford Cultural Leaders, a week long, residential leadership programme for museums, heritage and the arts that we deliver annually in partnership with the Said Business School. Find out more about Oxford Cultural Leaders.

To find out more about the Partnership Team visit the Partnership Team page

To find out more about the Partnership Museums visit the Our Museums page