University of Oxford

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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 on 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.

Major Partner Museum funding is invested across the museums to support activity including audience engagement, digital development, collections care and display and innovation. As Major Partner Museums the Partnership also has broader sector responsibilities, with a national leadership role around the themes of Excellence and Higher Education.

As well as supporting work within the Oxford University Museums, the Partnership invests Arts Council funding in a knowledge sharing programme for the museums and cultural sector.

  • EVENTS - Roundtables, workshops, seminars & conferences on a wide range of topics from digital engagement & collections to fundraising, commercial activity & leadership.
  • OXFORD CULTURAL LEADERS - A formal leadership programme for museums, culture and the arts delivered in partnership with the Said Business School.
  • PARTNERS - Working with partner museums to enhance specific elements of their service and expand our joint knowledge base.

The Partnership also invests in professional development of its own 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.

Some successful projects to date include:

  • YELLOW MAGIC - a project that sought to engage the public with the Museum of the History of Science's medical collections.
  • COUNT ME IN - a project to break down barriers to volunteering and diversify our volunteer pool.
  • AFTER HOURS CINEMA - a late night event that brought together the public and academics to discuss silent film the Adventures of Prince Achmed alongside a brand new soundtrack composed and played live by local band Flights of Helios.
  • GOES FOR A PINT - supporting the Museum of Natural History to get out during its one year closure, taking over pub quizzes across the city.
  • INTEGRATING IPADS - the development of instructional videos by education staff at the Ashmolean Museum to highlight how iPads can be used to enhance an art education visit.

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


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