Museum of the History of Science

Oxford, United Kingdom

Museum of the History of Science


The History of Science Museum in Broad Street, Oxford, England, holds a leading collection of scientific instruments from Middle Ages to the 19th century. The museum building is also known as the Old Ashmolean Building to distinguish it from the newer Ashmolean Museum building completed in 1894. The museum was built in 1683, and it is the world's oldest surviving purpose-built museum.

Built in 1683 to house Elias Ashmole's collection, the building was the world's first purpose-built museum building and was also open to the public. The original concept of the museum was to institutionalize the new learning about nature that appeared in the 17th century and experiments concerning natural philosophy were undertaken in a chemical laboratory in the basement, while lectures and demonstration took place in the School of Natural History, on the middle floor. Ashmole's collection was expanded to include a broad range of activities associated with the history of natural knowledge. In 1924, Lewis Evans donated his collection of historic scientific instruments, creating the Lewis Evans Collection. In 1935, with more donations, the museum's name was changed to the Museum of the History of Science. In 2018, the museum was renamed the History of Science Museum.

Thumbnail image credited to Additional info

Accommodations near Museum of the History of Science

View more options near Museum of the History of Science

Nearby Tours & Activities