Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

A day out in Oxford and its museums

Oxford Museum of Natural History

Last month, Christine and I had a day out in Oxford. I have family who moved down to nearby Bicester from Yorkshire some years ago, and so we visited as a stopping-off point on the way to our week’s holiday in London.

My relatives kindly offered to look after Lizzie for an afternoon, giving Christine and I some time to ourselves, and the opportunity to visit the city. I’d last been there in the 1990s, coupled with a visit to Legoland Windsor, but Christine had never been before. She arranged to meet a friend for lunch, and then we hit the museums in the afternoon.

The Oxford Dodo

Oxford Museum of Natural History

Oxford’s Museum of Natural History isn’t as big as the one in London, but it is also free to get in. The museum is part of the University of Oxford, and is home to various stuffed animals and preserved skeletons. One of its more famous exhibits is the Oxford Dodo, an incomplete dodo skeleton. It’s accompanied by a model showing what we think a dodo may have looked like.

The building is also interesting. Many of the supporting columns are made with different minerals (with labels), making the building a museum piece in itself.

A number of the exhibits can be touched, which makes a change from seeing endless glass cases. There are also a number of activities for kids during school holidays.

Pitt-Rivers Museum

Pitt Rivers Museum

Tagged onto the back of the Museum of Natural History is the Pitt Rivers Museum. We only had time to look around the ground floor but there was plenty to see. It houses a series of collections of objects, many of which were brought in from overseas and are sorted by theme. There are collections of pottery, death masks, shrunken heads (which were the inspiration for those used on the Knight Bus in the Harry Potter films), charms, weapons, musical instruments and lots more besides.

I’m sure you could visit multiple times and still see something new each time. This is despite the museum fitting into one, admittedly large, room.

As we were only in Oxford for one afternoon, we didn’t get chance to see much of the rest of the city centre. But we’ll probably go back again before long, especially for a return visit to G&D’s ice cream café.

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