History of Science Museum
Like most British museums, the History of Science Museum is free to enter, but a donation is suggested. In-house guides operate free tours two days per week, while private tours for groups of up to 15 people can be arranged for a charge. Most travelers visit independently, as part of their explorations of downtown Oxford, although a handful of walking tours stop to admire the exterior, and it’s also possible to arrange a visit here on a private custom tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
The History of Science Museum is a must for science fans and aspiring scientists of all ages.
British museums are free but need support. Do donate if you can.
Only the basement gallery of the museum has wheelchair access.
How to Get There
The History of Science Museum is located in central Oxford, almost opposite the Bodleian Library. Most travelers explore downtown Oxford on foot, or occasionally by bike, and it’s typically easiest to arrive by bus or train. Most London trains start from Paddington, while the popular Oxford Tube coach service stops at Shepherd’s Bush, Notting Hill Gate, Marble Arch, and Victoria. Drivers usually leave their vehicles in park-and-ride zones outside the city.
When to Get There
The History of Science Museum is open in the afternoons, from Tuesday to Sunday, with free museum tours at lunchtime Saturday and early on Thursday afternoons. It is at its busiest on weekends and the English school holidays, particularly the long summer holiday, but also Christmas, Easter, and half-terms (the midterm breaks).
The Story of the History of Science Museum
First opened in 1683 to house the Ashmolean Museum, the building that holds the History of Science Museum is probably the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. It’s known as the Old Ashmolean. The History of Science Museum itself only came into being in 1924, when the scientific-instrument collector Lewis Evans donated his collection to the University of Oxford. Today, its collection runs to over 20,000 items.