The Museum building was started in the mid 19th century to house
natural history specimens from the Ashmolean Museum and the University.
It was built in the neo-Gothic style – the inside of the museum has an extensive glass roof supported by cast iron columns and resembles nothing so much as a large and ornate Victorian greenhouse. With its many architectural flourishes the building competes for your attention with the many exhibits. It still has the feel of a Victorian museum – which is probably a good thing – nothing against modern audio-visual presentations, but sometimes it seems that ‘old fashioned’ museums are now themselves an endangered species.
If you are in an adventurous mood you can also visit the Pitt-Rivers Museum, which is housed behind the Natural History Museum. The Pitt-River’s is, while still extraordinary, is darker and quite spooky.