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Ashmolean4'The present Ashmolean was created in 1908 by combining two ancient Oxford institutions: the University Art Collection and the original Ashmolean Museum. The older partner in this merger, the University Art Collection, was based for many years in what is now the Upper Reading Room in the Bodleian Library. ... Had Elias Ashmole (1617-92) not stipulated that his collection of curiosities and antiquities should be placed in a custom-built museum, it would have been installed in the Bodleian or in the Anatomy Theatre. In the event, Ashmole’s benefaction was placed inside a small but imposing building adjacent to the Bodleian which opened its doors on 24th May 1683 with much fanfare.' To find out more about the museum see here.

The Ashmolean Museum's Department of Antiquities manuscript collections contain many relevant letters and other documents. Below are overall assessments of the ones that have been reviewed, and some transcriptions. Please note that all 'footnotes' are the transcribers, the letters have been transcribed as they are and not edited. We are very grateful to the Ashmolean Museum for allowing us to place transcriptions on this website and wish to thank Alison Roberts in particular for her help in this matter. We are also very grateful to Alice Stevenson who worked on the Rolleston manuscripts for the Ashmolean Museum. If you wish to arrange to see the originals or to discuss the content further then please contact the Department of Antiquities at  Tel: +44 (0)1865 278020 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Introduction to the Ashmolean Museum, history

Full list of Ashmolean Museum Department of Antiquities manuscripts (Historic Museum archives)

Ovenell papers

1. 3 printed pamphlets about the Rowell Catalogue of the Ashmolean Collection and the discovery of diverse objects in an outhouse of the Ashmolean Museum (from 1879 to 1881) [RFO/A/3/11]

2. Extracts from Ovenell's own handwritten notebook about Ashmolean collections 1878 onwards, particularly about the Rowell catalogue [also covered in 1. above] [RFO/A/3/11]

Rolleston papers

Copy or draft letter from George Rolleston to the University of Oxford vice-chancellor dated 26.1.1867 regarding the future of ethnological displays at the University Museum.

Greville Chester and Archaeology at Oxford, 1881

'The Ashmolean as a home of archaeology in Oxford' Lecture given by Arthur Evans in 1884

Introduction to the 1886 transfer of objects from the Oxford University Museum to the Ashmolean Museum

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Supported by the John Fell OUP Research Fund


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