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Oxford's collection in a new light: 135 million items and counting

Oxford is a leading city for culture. It is home to some of the world’s most important collections of art, printed materials and specimens. These resources provide opportunities for academics and students to study diverse cultures, memories and heritage, as well as to consider contemporary questions about how we live. They are important for learning and teaching at the University, but also for the local community, schools and the wider public – who engage with them for learning, research or just pleasure.

Nearly 21 million items are held in the University’s six cultural and scientific institutions: the Bodleian Libraries, the Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the History of Science Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum. Further treasures can be found in the University’s Herbaria, and there are other, smaller collections of objects ranging from rare books to musical instruments.

The collections have grown over almost 900 years include items of historical significance and global interest, from the Magna Carta and the Alfred Jewel to J R R Tolkien’s archives. There are works of art, historical artefacts and everyday objects from around the globe, while the natural world is represented by millions of preserved specimens including now extinct animals, insects and plants, as well as some of the most diverse living plant collections in the world.

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Oxford is a truly international university, bringing together the best and brightest minds from around the world. Our 13,000 staff and 22,000 students come from a wide range of backgrounds and over 140 countries and territories, making Oxford a diverse and dynamic place to work and study. We believe our strengths lie in empowering our academics and students to address fundamental questions of global significance, while providing all members of the University with a welcoming and inclusive environment that enables individuals to achieve their best work.

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