Special Projects

Curious Curators

Curious Curators was a joint project between the four Oxford University museums (Ashmolean, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Pitt Rivers Museum), it was led by the primary education officers from each Museum.

The project experimented with cross-museum collaboration in the delivery of sessions to primary schools. It aimed to target a range of schools in the city and further afield, with a particular focus on schools with a high proportion of pupils in economic and socially deprived areas.

The project was funded by the OUMP (Oxford University Museums Partnership) Innovation Fund


•  Evaluation Report: June 2017

Case Study: Sixth Form Study Days

The Ashmolean Museum has developed a range of Sixth Form Study Days across different subject areas including Classical Civilisations, Art & Design History of Art and Chaucer's World. The aim is to give students a taste of university teaching and access to Museum curators and world class collections through a combination of lectures and gallery-based practical workshops.


•  Ashmolean Case Study: Sixth Form Study Days



Turner’s Oxford, HLF major acquisition project

An extensive public engagement programme focusing on J. M. W Turner's oil painting of ‘The High Street, Oxford.' From January to September 2016, the painting was used to inspire a number of activities, tailored to meet the needs and interests of a range of audiences. Supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), projects and activities targeted families, schools, young people, adults and community groups.


•  Turner's Oxford: evaluation of a public engagement programme

•  I Love the High Street, a reminiscence film.

Project Blog:

Saving Manet for the Nation: HLF major acquisition project

Encompassing in depth community projects, a national tour, as well as activities offered through our core learning programmes, this ambitious public engagement programme enabled as many people as possible to access and engage with the painting. The last 4 years have surpassed even our own expectations of the learning that can be inspired by just one painting!


View project film: One Portrait, Many Views


•  Overarching evaluation report

•  Appendix A: Phase 1 - Me, Myself and Manet

•  Appendix B: Phase 2 - Beyond the Balcony

•  Appendix C: Breadth of Engagement

Sensing Culture: Improving access for blind and partially sighted visitors

An HLF-funded project, led by the RNIB, looking at ways in which we can improve the visitor experience for blind and partially sighted visitors. During 2016 The Ashmolean Museum, the Museum of the History of Science, the Museum and Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum will be involved in a number of initiatives which this blog will detail. As well as the Oxford University Museums, the project involves five other partner museum services in the south-east region – Brighton and Hove, Canterbury, Lewes Castle and Arthur Conan Doyle collection.


Project Blog:

Beyond the Balcony

Between September 2015 and May 2016 the Ashmolean Museum hosted brook and black as digital artists in residence. Tiffany Black and Leo Brook worked with 2 local community groups, MIND and Young Dementia UK, to explore and respond to Edouard Manet’s ‘Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus’. Through a series of workshops incorporating collage, text, film and sound, the participants made personal responses to themes located in the painting. The project culminated in 2 community films and a brook and black installation in the Impressionists gallery at the Museum in Spring 2016. The work was also showcased at our May LiveFriday late opening.


•  Beyond the Balcony Phase 2 Evaluation Report

•  Case Study: Beyond the Balcony (Young Dementia UK, MIND)

Project Blog:

Digital Sketchbooks

A project with The Marlborough Church of England School to explore how tablets can be used on a museum art trip. With support from Arts Council England through a Major Partner Museum grant, we created an online learning package that includes a series of short films:

•  Download a case study of the project.

•  Adrian Brooks & Helen Ward speak about the project at an Oxford University Museums Partnership event




Me, Myself and Manet

A series of projects with local community groups in Oxfordshire, focusing on Edouard Manet’s ‘Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus’. ‘Me, Myself and Manet’ aimed to provide a space for people to explore and be inspired from art, and to work with artists to creatively express themselves. The projects were funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of a major acquisition grant, focusing on themes including identity, society, the celebrity, gender, fashion, expression, portraiture and art history.


•  Me Myself and Manet Phase 1 evaluation report

•  Light Touch project case studies (Budding Young Parents, Meadowbrook Pupil Referral Unit, Oxfordshire Hospital School)

•  In Depth project case studies (The Highfield Unit, Young Dementia UK)

Project Blog:

What’s Your Story?

An iPad based digital Arts Award project involving young people from Northfield School working with digital artist Angus Dick and the Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite collection.

•  Download a case study of the project.

View a gallery of work created by students:
•  A inspiration page
•  B My page on artist Angus Dick
•  C page of my artwork, My page on other digital artists, 2014-06-04 11.34.31



Skills for the Future

Oxford University Museums and Collections (OUMC) Skills for the Future project was delivered in partnership by the education departments at the Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Museum of The History of Science, Joint Museums Office, and Oxford Botanic Garden & Harcourt Arboretum. The project offered traineeships for 16 people between 2011 and 2015 who had experienced barriers in gaining employment within the museum education sector.

  • Download the final project evaluation report

    Project Blog: