Pitt Rivers Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is part of Oxford University and since 1884 houses the anthropological and archaeological collection of the University.

This goes back to a generous donation of more than 18,000 objects by the British General Pitt Rivers. Since the opening of the collection has increased by further donations and purchases, including by Heinrich Schliemann, to more than 500,000 exhibits.

It is housed in the east wing of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and shares with this also the main entrance. Both museums are all about the parks Road, about 5 minutes in a northeasterly direction from the city center.

The Collection

The Pitt Rivers Museum is one with its now over 500,000 exhibits in the crowded exhibition hall to one of the most important anthropological collections in England.

The collection is grouped by topics and not by periods or cultures. This should be taught how different cultures at different times coped same issue or issues.

It includes, among other tools and weapons, jewelry, musical instruments, sculptures, masks and textiles from all over the world. Numerous models in size and in reduced form for example, show the cultural and historical development of boats. A collection of lamps from everyday use juxtaposes models from India those from Uganda and Thailand. In addition, can be found in the collection also curious objects, such as a glass bottle from a village in Sussex, in the supposedly a witch should be locked up.

The exhibits are described very briefly and handwritten cards even from the time of the museum. Long descriptions are missing, but there is plenty of opportunity to take out objects from drawers and feel. Probably also because of this interactive design, the Museum recently won the 2005 Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.

The museum has close links with the University of Oxford. 1883, the first English Department of Anthropology at Oxford was founded on a donation condition of Pitt Rivers out. The collection has been used since the museum's opening very intensively for research and educational purposes of anthropological faculty. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the exhibits in the practical part of the tests are included. Employees of the museum now teach master's degree in Material Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford.


Although the museum is expanded extensively since 2004 with funds from the " Higher Education Funding Council ", the collection is during this time largely accessible. The reconstruction works are largely completed in 2007. The new building provides space for staff and conservation laboratories. There are also rooms for visiting scholars, especially from countries from which important cultural objects belonging to the collection of the museum. The expanded exhibition space will be present again more exhibits and historical photos together.

A small museum shop offers books, brochures and postcards about the museum and related topics.

On the website of the museum provides extensive information available, including opening times, information in preparation for the visit to the museum and a free -to-use database in which all the exhibits of the Pitt Rivers Museum are listed.