Oxford University's gardens, libraries and museums form one of the greatest concentrations of university collections in the world. Comprising over 21 million objects, specimens and printed items, they constitute one of the largest and most important research repositories in the world and provide an outstanding resource for scholars, students and members of the public.
The four museums are home to over 8.5 million objects and specimens representing the natural world, global art and artefacts:
- The Ashmolean is the first public museum in Britain and its collections include the most important group of Raphael drawings in the world.
- The History of Science Museum - housed in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building - contains the world’s finest collection of historic scientific instruments.
- The Museum of Natural History holds the University’s internationally significant collections of 7 million geological and zoological specimens, including the fossil bones of the first dinosaur ever to be described scientifically.
- The Pitt Rivers Museum houses one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology, with objects from every continent and from throughout human history.
The Bodleian is the largest university library system in the United Kingdom. It comprises the principal University library – the Bodleian Library – and 27 libraries across Oxford, which provide services to 21st-century scholars across subject disciplines, from direct access to high-demand print collections to online access to journals, manuscripts, archives and databases. Together, the Bodleian Libraries hold more than 13 million printed items, over 80,000 e-journals and outstanding special collections including rare books and manuscripts.
The Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Britain. Founded in 1621, its collections have been used in teaching, research and conservation for 400 years, and it forms the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world. The Arboretum, which has been part of the Botanic Garden since 1963, contains the finest collection of trees in Oxfordshire, including some of the oldest redwoods in the UK.
Overseen by the Head of GLAM, the Gardens, Libraries and Museums division (GLAM) represents these six departments, and coordinates related budgets, policy and strategy in support of the University’s academic, research and teaching activities, and its heritage and legal responsibilities.
The GLAM Divisional Office, under the direction of the GLAM Divisional Secretary, provides coordination and support for the six GLAM departments.
The Gardens, Libraries and Museums share the University's globally significant collections in order to promote research, learning and enjoyment, which inspires the advancement of knowledge and a better understanding of the world.
Each of the departments in GLAM has a governing body prescribed by Statute or Regulation: the Curators of the University Libraries and the Boards of Visitors of the individual museums and of the Botanic Garden.
The GLAM Board comprises the directors of the six GLAM departments and is chaired by the Head of GLAM.