Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
The Ashmolean Museum on Beaumont Street is named after Elias Ashmole who donated his cabinet of curiosities to the University of Oxford in 1677. It has extensive collections focusing on Art and Archaeology and underwent major renovation work between 2006 - 2009 which doubled the available display space and increased the number of floors from three to five. This modernisation gives the museum a light and airy feel. In addition to the permanent collection, the Museum also hosts major exhibitions and temporary displays throughout the year.
Note that the museum is closed on Mondays if planning a visit.
I visited The Ashmolean Dining Room for lunch with a colleague on Friday 21st November 2014. We both had a mushroom Risotto which was tasty and hot. I cannot however say this for the Rhubarb crumbles which arrived after a long 15 minutes wait and were cold when they did arrive. We sent them back and after another 10 minutes the Restaurant Manageress arrived with another two crumbles which she 'hoped' were hotter. She did not stay around to find out and did not even keep an eye on our table to check that everything was fine. Instead she spent her time in conversation with another member of staff who was cleaning the counter area, she then cleared some tables of dirty dishes all the while not seeing me waving at her for a good 5/6 minutes. Frustrated at her lack of attendance on us, I took one of the offending crumbles up to her. She then came back to the table to explain that the chef had assured her that the crumbles were heated to boiling point so must have gone cold between the kitchen and the table which as this distance was a few feet, I felt was a ridiculous excuse. This is the second time that I have visited this Restaurant and on both ocassions was disappointed by the lack of ' good leadership' and customer service.
We made a visit to see the Cezanne exhibition - although it is fair to say that there did seem to be more work by his contemporaries than the artist himself. It was enjoyable and not so busy, even for a Sunday after Easter.
If you are buying the exhibition guide and book - it seems the cheaper guide is a better purchase.
In respect of the wider museum facilities - the exhibits are excellent and there is a really good feel to the interiors. As ever, you will be able to see the world by experiencing ancient and more modern art. There are opportunities to eat and to shop.
The buiding itself is a like lovely Grecian goddess. Nevermind that she is going through major remodeling renovation currently (mid-late 2007).
All of the great, comprehensive museums in England are not just in London. In Oxford, the Ashmolean is a must-do day trip for those who appreciate a variety of artistic style- from ancient Egyptian sculpture and artifacts, to Euro renaissance paintings and modern showcase featuring local artists.
Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sunday 12pm to 5pm
holidays: 10am to 5pm
The Asmolean Museum is one of Oxford's permier tourist attractions, and rightly so. First founded in 1683, it is the oldest public museum in the country.
Originally it was built to house the private collections of Oxford resident Elias Ashmole. However, some of this collection dated back even further, to the early 17th century, for part of Ashmole's collection came from the famous Tradescant family who left their own horde of treasures to Ashmole.
Then the Ashmolean was used to house the University's growing collection of art and artefacts from all around the world.
Highlights of the museum include the Egyptian gallery, drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael, Impressionist paintings, British art from the 19th century and of course the Tradescant Room, which houses some of the museum's original exhibits.
But perhaps the Ashmolean's single most famous exhibit is the beautiful Alfred Jewel, dating from the Saxon era and regarded by many to be the best piece of Saxon art ever found.
The Ashmolean Museum is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and from 2pm to 4pm on Sundays. Admission is free, but a donation is requested.