Welcome to the world's oldest surviving purpose-built public museum The History of Science Museum houses an unrivalled collection of historic scientific instruments in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built public 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. Our 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.


The Museum was established in 1924 as the Lewis Evans Collection and opened to the public one year later. Robert Gunther and Lewis Evans were the driving forces behind the Museum’s creation. Evans donated his scientific instrument collection and Gunter, a scientist, campaigned for their display. Find out more.


Phone: +44 (0)1865 287406 
Email: publicengagement@hsm.ox.ac.uk

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General enquiries
Phone: +44 (0)1865 277 293
Email: info@hsm.ox.ac.uk

Museum staff and contact details.