The Pitt Rivers Museum is also known as the University of Oxford’s Museum of Anthropology and World Archaeology. The museum was founded in 1884 when General Augustus Fox-Pitt Rivers donated his collection of over 26,000 archaeological and ethnographic objects to the university. Today, it contains over 700,000 objects and welcomes over half a million visitors each year.
The entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum is through the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Go to the very rear, past the parade of dinosaurs, to find Pitt Rivers' arched door.
Entering the museum is like walking into an exotic, dimly lit flea market. Every display cabinet and drawer is packed with everything you can think of and more. These are grouped not by geographical or cultural areas but by object type and use. So displays on 'Making and keeping light' and 'Writing and communication' draw from different cultures, time periods and people. Notable highlights include the Haida totem pole (11.36m high) from Canada, an Ox-scapula shovel from Avebury dated between 2900 and 2600BC, and a 2,500-year-old cylindrical glass bead featuring a human face on both sides.
The museum is a short walk from Oxford City Centre and is served by hop-on and hop-off City Sightseeing bus tours.