The Museum of the History of Science in Oxford

Got the chance to visit Oxford last week while travelling back to Reading from Kidlington. We had an hour or so on hand, so we decided to see atleast something in Oxford.

And the place we visited was the Museum of the History of Science which is located at the very centre of Oxford, on the Broad Street. The museum is next to the Sheldonian Theatre and within 10 minutes walking distance of the railway and bus stations.

The Museum of the History of Science 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.

Working instruments of the Royal Microscopical society

The Indian Bhugola
The 'Bhugola' or 'Earth Ball' is a thin brass box, made in the 16th century, engraved with a representation of the earth as known in the Hindu cosmology. The engraving is very rich, the general scheme being based around bands of land separated by seas, both liberally populated with figures. Brahma and Shiva are seen in the mountains while humans and animals inhabit the lowlands. Each area of the Bhugola is labelled in Sanskrit and as a whole it bears the inscription - In the Saka year 1493 in the region of the reath - Lord Viraji by Ksema Karna the learned was the earth ball created.

Silver Microscope for King George III
This elaborate silver microscope was made ofr King Geprge III in about 1770. The monumental base and pillar support a ring of eight objective lenses. These lenses may bve used as sinple microscopes on one side or as a part of the compound system on the other.

The Fromanteel Clock - One of the earliest pendulum clocks in England
This clock was made in the early 1660s by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, who made the first pendulum clock in England.

Working instruments of the Royal Astronomical Society

Bladder fish
This dried specimen of a bladder fish is thought to have belonged to the Tradescant Collection and entered the Ashmolean Museum at its fondation.

Other exhibits on show include internationally significant collections of scientific instruments such as astrolabes and sundials, as well as famous objects such as Einstein’s blackboard and equipment used in early experiments in cultivating penicillin.


Museum of the History of Science
Broad Street,
Oxford OX1 3AZ
tel: 01865 277280

Admission to the museum is free.

Museum Opening Hours
Monday - Closed
Tuesday to Friday - 12 to 5pm
Saturday - 10am to 5pm
Sunday - 2 to 5pm

Note: The Museum will be closed between 24 December 2009 and 1 January 2010, both days inclusive.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the lovely tour of the woderful museum. bhugola was a revelation!
    good to see that they allow photography in the museum!


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