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.
Our vision
  • Reveal Beauty – Highlight Ingenuity – Inspire Curiosity
Our mission 
  • Explore the connections between people, science, art, and belief
  • Give voice to the histories that our collections can tell
  • Share the stories of science in Oxford
Our history

Established in 1924 as the Lewis Evans Collection, the Museum opened to the public one year later in 1925.

Robert Gunther and Lewis Evans were the driving forces behind the Museum’s creation. Evans donated his scientific instrument collection and Gunther, a scientist, campaigned for their display.

Learn more about the history of the Museum



    Our collections and stories

    Together our diverse collection and historic building occupy a special place, both in the study of the history of science and in the development of Western culture and collecting.

    Our Museum preserves the objects, instruments, writings, and materials scientists have created to tame, travel, and transform the world around them.

    As a department of the University of Oxford, we present these inspiring stories of science to visitors, and make the collections available to historians for study.

    We look after around 20,000 objects which cover almost all aspects of the history of science, from ancient to modern times. In particular, we are known for our collections of:
    • astrolabes
    • sundials
    • early mathematical instruments

    together with scientific apparatus associated with:

    • chemistry
    • medicine
    • communications.

    and our famous Einstein's Blackboard.

    The Museum's unique reference library on the history of scientific instruments includes:

    • manuscripts
    • prints
    • early photographic material.

    If you're curious to know more, you can:

    We look forward to welcoming you.



    "rarely was science in Oxford more on people’s mind globally than this year"
    Dr Silke Ackermann, Director, History of Science Museum, Oxford


    From Oxford Instruments and Alice in Typhoidland to new Curators, remote working, and memorable moments with Multaka — take a look at our latest Annual Review.



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

    Read previous press releases.

    Contact us

    History of Science Museum
    Broad Street
    OX1 3AZ 

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

    Museum staff and contact details.