Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology

Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology

Map
Beaumont St., Oxford, England OX1 2PH, United Kingdom

The Ashmolean opened in 1683 as the world’s first public museum. It originated with a core group of natural history specimens that belonged to father-and-son gardeners, both named John Tradescant, who gave them to the antiquarian Elias Ashmole, who in turn presented the collection to the university in 1677.

London-based American architect Rick Mather won the competition to bring the Ashmolean into the 21st century. He removed makeshift additions, built in the late 19th century as temporary exhibition spaces, that were gloomy as well as searingly hot in summer and freezing in winter. By replacing these with an atrium crisscrossed by bridges that link the new galleries and fuse the six-floor extension to the handsome 1845 Neoclassical structure by Charles Cockerell, Mather has magically suffused the whole place with natural light. Architectural miracles like this don’t come cheap: the renovation cost $99 million. Mather restored Cockerell’s grand entrance, doubled the display space, and capped it with a rooftop restaurant and terrace that has already become a popular meeting place for town and gown. A couple of Oxford lads, Ben and Hugo Warner, operate the Ashmolean Dining Room; they’ve got a terrific contemporary English menu, a wine list from around the world, and sweeping views of the city.

Other Nearby Things to Do
travel package
The Pitt Rivers Museum, one of the world's top ... Read More
journal
Christ Church Picture Gallery nearby is a jewel... Read More
journal
The tight space here brims with 2,000 woodwind,... Read More
travel package
At Isis Ceramics, outside Oxford, owner Deborah... Read More
travel package
Come to the town of Oxfordshire for cool Britan... Read More
travel package
This year, Londoners have been tripping over th... Read More
Nearby Hotels
camera and maps
St. Pancras isn’t merely home to the Eurostar. ... Read More
camera and maps
Claridge’s is British service at its best. In f... Read More
bellhops at The Goring London, London, England
For a taste of quintessential British hospitali... Read More
camera and maps
With the feel of a private club, this Clerkenwe... Read More
Nearby Restaurants
suitcase
Travel back in time to the early 20th century a... Read More
journal
After a massive falling out with his former men... Read More
suitcase
Located near the waterfront of St. Katherine’s ... Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement