Ashmolean Museum


The Ashmolean is the University of Oxford’s museum of art and archaeology, founded in 1683. Our world famous collections range from Egyptian mummies to contemporary art, telling human stories across cultures and across time.


The Ashmolean came into existence in 1682, when the wealthy antiquary Elias Ashmole gifted his collection to the University. It opened as Britain’s first public museum, and the world’s first university museum, in 1683.


Though the collection has evolved considerably, the founding principle remains: that knowledge of humanity across cultures and across times is important to society. A laudable intention, but the uncomfortable truth is that much of the collection was inevitably selected and obtained as a result of colonial power.