June 3 – A visit to Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We went off to Oxford for yet another visit, this time to the Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. We left our car on the outskirts at a park and ride and took the bus into the city. when we got to the Museum there was a Festival of Nature taking place on the front lawn. We didn’t even know it was going to be going on. There were lots of stalls to do with saving things like hedgehogs and wild areas as well as stalls teaching people to spin, knit and weave, make baskets and bird boxes. There was also a falconry display but the coolest thing was the wolves. They are not 100% wolf anymore but were still well fenced and it was not a good idea to get too close with an ice cream. The breeder was answering questions about them and their history which was fascinating.

The Natural History Museum was great and had everything from dinosaurs and wild animals, to rocks and fossils. There is so much to see and read. It is huge and very light, bright and modern. Regius Professor of Medicine, Sir Henry Acland, initiated the construction of the museum between 1855 and 1860, to bring together all the aspects of science around a central display area. ( I wonder if he is related to the Aclands at Peel Forest)


When we got to the back of the museum we found an entrance to another huge room which turned out to be the Pitt Rivers Museum. The two museums are separate entities but you have to go through the Natural History Museum to enter. Augustus Pitt Rivers travelled extensively around the world collecting archaeological and ethnological items eventually numbering 22,000 pieces. It is amazing you walk from this huge light and bright room into an equally huge but much less bright to preserve all the artefacts. But the size of the place takes your breath away as you enter from a height and walk down into it. There are three levels and it is jam packed with exhibits. Some of his archaeological material dates from Roman and Saxon times but also from many cultures from around the world. There are even some Maori artefacts.


We felt like we had walked a for miles but after a bit of lunch we were ready for more so we did a special geocaching multi called ‘Oxford’s City Gates’ which walked us all around the city walls showing you all parts of the city. Oxford is very compact with the university and all the colleges right in the middle. It is great for the walker and the cyclists. There are so many cycles in the city and you really have to keep your wits about you as they sneak up behind you and then ring their bell. The multi was a lot of fun to do but a long way to walk and when we got to the final, it was missing. Quel dommage! The CO has since replaced the cache so hopefully, we will soon be able to return and sign the cache.