Cross your fingers for me, everyone, I just applied to a job in Rhode Island that’s a four-year fixed-term museum position that I am very qualified for, and I did it on a whim, which is not like me, so if I get it, I’ll be thrilled. So
i just want y'all to know how great our national museums 💙🇵🇭✊🏼; 📌 National Museum of Anthropology & 📌 National Museum of Natural History (i’m so sad that we did not visit National Museum of Fine Arts today 😭)
Today marks the 402nd birthday of Elias Ashmole, the founder of the Ashmolean Museum.
Elias Ashmole donated most of his collections to the University of Oxford in 1677. Much of the collection had originally been assembled by the noted gardeners and collectors John Tradescant and his son. When the Ashmolean was opened in 1683, it was not just a repository and place for research and teaching but also a public museum. Ashmole’s vision ultimately laid the foundations for museums as we know them today.
Ashmole trained as a lawyer but he was better known for his wide-ranging interests. He was a collector and antiquary, an alchemist, an astrologer and a botanist. A staunch Royalist, Ashmole left London at the outbreak of the Civil War and moved in 1644 to the new Royalist capital of Oxford. The following year he was admitted to Oxford’s Brasenose College to study natural philosophy, mathematics, astronomy and astrology.
You can find out more about Ashmole and see some of his founding collection in our gallery 2, The Ashmolean Story, on our lower ground floor.
Britain’s first museum is 336 years old today! 🎂 On 24 May 1683 the doors of the Ashmolean Museum were officially opened to the public.
The Ashmolean came into existence when the wealthy antiquary Elias Ashmole gifted his collection to the University in 1682. He did so ‘because the knowledge of Nature is very necessary to human life and health.’ It opened as Britain’s first public museum, and the world’s first university museum.
Below is a watercolour painting of the South East view of the museum from 1848, and a photograph taken from the same angle today. However, this wasn’t actually the original location of the museum. The first site of the Ashmolean was on Broad Street, where the Museum of the History of Science is now.
Help us to celebrate our birthday today - what are some of your favourite Ashmolean memories? Let us know in the comments below.
Happy #WorldTurtleDay! Here are a few turtles from our collections.
The first turtle made of wood is an inrō - a traditional Japanese case for holding small objects suspended from a sash worn around the waist. Traditional Japanese robes did not have pockets, so objects were often carried this way in a variety of different vessels. The inrō was particularly suitable for carrying anything small; this object measures only 11 x 71 centimetres.
Also below is a blue figure of a tortoise from 8th century China, and a terracotta vessel in the form of a turtle from late 3rd century-early 2nd century BC North India.
Inrō in the form of a turtle. Kōkaku (active 1830 - 1844), Japan. 19th century. Wood with carved decoration.
Figure of a tortoise. China, Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907). Earthenware with dark blue and yellow glazing.