The Ashmolean Museum

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Oxford, England

The Ashmolean Museum Oxford Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
The Ashmolean Museum Sep 20, 2011
The breadth of the Ashmolean Museum's collection is stunning. It encompasses some fantastic twentieth century art (including several Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth sculptures, and some Gormley paintings - I had no idea that Gormely painted!), loads of Pissaros, a Van Gogh, back through whole chunks of the Rennaissance, Some Byzantine Art, back into Ancient Rome, Egypt, and pre historic Greece. There is a gorgeous collection of Cycladic figures (the blank faced statuettes from pre-historic Greece, which later inspired Piccasso) and some fascinating stuff from India and Japan.

The collection is housed in a newly rebuilt building with a staircase that looks like something from Escher. The idea was that you should stumble from one part to another and just stray across a connection between the Greek stuff you were looking at just now and the Indian things you have strayed into now. It is a very impressive building.

The colleciton is dizzying, and if you have time, then it might be worth spreading your visit across two days - perfectly possible as entrance to teh museum is free, with a recommended three pound donation, so you could easily just donate on the first day you go and not the second. Even I, experienced and geeky museum fan of note, was getting a little footsore by the end of the visit. But it is the most impressive collection I have seen outside of the British Museum itself.

There is a pleasant shop. Disabled access is good throughout, and there is enough space to see things. There are still a few rooms that are being modernised - tehy moight be less good with small children as there is less in te way of buttons to press there. The rest of the museum, however, would be fine with small children, although I wouldn't want to try to see everything because even the best behaved little one would get tired by teh end.

The only slight disapointment is the cafe. I stopped for lunch and the food was excellent, but there were no tables left and the accoustics are echoing and make the whole place quite stressful. There is a posh restaurant in the roof; it seems to me that more people will want a cup of coffee than a whole meal and that putting a little more attention into making the cafe nice would be a more useful approach.
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