The History of Science Museum houses an unrivalled collection of historic scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building, the Old Ashmolean on Broad Street, Oxford. By virtue of the collection and the building, the Museum occupies a special position, both in the study of the history of science and in the development of Western culture and collecting.
The present collection preserves the material of past science. As a department of the University of Oxford, the Museum has a role both in making this material available for study by historians, and presenting it to the visiting public.
Approximately 20,000 objects cover almost all aspects of the history of science, from antiquity to the early 1900s. Particular strengths include the collections of astrolabes, sundials and early mathematical instruments, together with apparatus associated with chemistry, medicine, and communications. In addition, the Museum possesses a unique reference library for the study of the history of scientific instruments that includes manuscripts, prints and early photographic material.