Founded in 1860 as the centre for scientific study at the University of Oxford, the Museum of Natural History holds the University’s internationally significant collections of geological and zoological specimens. Housed in a stunning example of neo-Gothic architecture, the museum’s growing collections underpin a broad programme of natural environment research, teaching and public engagement. Among its most famous features are the Oxfordshire dinosaurs, the only soft tissue remains of a dodo, and the swifts in the tower.
The museum building was designed with the Pre-Raphaelite precept of ‘truth to nature’, and has long been an intersection for interdisciplinary learning. Famously, the first public event hosted at the museum was the Great Debate on evolution between Bishop Wilberforce and T. H. Huxley following the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
The museum was a Finalist in the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year in 2015 and was awarded Best of the Best at the Museums + Heritage Awards in 2016.