Oxford University Museum – Take One Museum

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Here’s a wonderful 30 minute programme about one of my favourite places Oxford University Museum “Take One Museum” The presenter explorer and deep sea diver Paul Rose beautifully expresses an irrepressible excitement on visiting this extraordinary place the same as I felt when I visited this wonderful Victorian cathedral and time capsule to the study of natural science. The steel and glass roof designed and built by Skidmore the designer of the The great Chrystal Palace emits a wondrous light that illuminates this mystical museum space where all the Victorian greats of natural history once met in this building to debate Darwinism. Anyone visiting the museums of Oxford could do no better than make this one top of their list to visit.The building is the forerunner to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington London.The geology wing of Trinity College Dublin is the forerunner of this building which were both designed by Irish architects Dean and Woodward.

Take One Museum

In each programme, explorer Paul Rose takes us on a non-stop, 30-minute tour of one of his favourite museums.

Paul is an explorer who leads expeditions all over the world. In this series, he takes the opportunity to do some exploring closer to home. And he demonstrates that you don’t need to be a globe-trotter to see the world and discover its riches.

In an innovative format, Take One Museum is filmed in real time. First-time presenter Paul relishes the challenge. With no auto cue, no stopping, no fixed script – it is television filmed without the safety net. The reason for filming this way is to show that even if you’re short of time, you can still uncover an array of absorbing stories in just half an hour.

Take One Museum in Oxford
Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Pitt Rivers Museum
Sharing a stunning building, the two museums form a symbiotic pairing of the natural world and human culture. The discovery of dinosaurs was made here, in 1815, and the Museum of Natural History held one of the most explosive debates in modern science – when Darwin first announced his theory of evolution.

The Pitt Rivers Museum is where the study of anthropology started and its original cabinets are overflowing with great stories about human culture. Paul discovers two of his heroes’ treasures – a fragile kayak, symbol of a polar controversy, and the captivating ‘power figure’ which changed lives in Africa.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History, sometimes known simply as the Oxford University Museum or OUMNH, is a museum displaying many of the University of Oxford’s natural history specimens, located on Parks Road in Oxford, England. It also contains a lecture theatre which is used by the University’s chemistry, zoology and mathematics departments. The University Museum provides the only access into the adjoining Pitt Rivers Museum.

The neo-Gothic building was designed by the Irish architects Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward. The museum’s design was directly influenced by the writings of critic John Ruskin, who involved himself by making various suggestions to Woodward during construction. It was built in 1861. The adjoining building that houses the Pitt Rivers Museum was the work of Thomas Manly Deane, son of Thomas Newenham Deane. It was built between 1885 and 1886.

The museum consists of a large square court with a glass roof, supported by cast iron pillars, which divide the court into three aisles. Cloistered arcades run around the ground and first floor of the building, with stone columns each made from a different British stone, selected by geologist John Phillips (the Keeper of the Museum). The ornamentation of the stonework and iron pillars incorporates natural forms such as leaves and branches, combining the Pre-Raphaelite style with the scientific role of the building.

Statues of eminent men of science stand around the ground floor of the court—from Aristotle and Bacon through to Darwin and Linnaeus. Although the University paid for the construction of the building, the ornamentation was funded by public subscription—and much of it remains incomplete. The Irish stone carvers O’Shea and Whelan had been employed to create lively freehand carvings in the Gothic manner. When funding dried up they offered to work unpaid, but were accused by members of the University Congregation of “defacing” the building by adding unauthorised work. According to Acland, they responded by caricaturing the Congregation as parrots and owls in the carving over the building’s entrance. Acland insists that he forced them to remove the heads.

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