Published: Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Have you ever wanted to roam around a museum at night to witness the exhibits come to life?

No need to fear the dark as the Museum of Oxford is teeming with characters from across history at the Rewind Time family day on Saturday 9 April.

The team, History Needs You, will be populating the Museum taking the roles of key players in Oxford’s story, interpreting exhibits, hosting workshops and entertaining visitors. One of these, a professor ‘of useless knowledge’ will be welcoming visitors and introducing some of the heroes of Oxford’s history in person.

Meet Eleanor Jourdain (1863-1924) one of the first women to lecture at the University of Oxford, and an active supporter of education and votes for women. She will talk about the Suffragette movement with stories, badge and poster making and teaching suffragette songs.

The grown-up Alice Liddell (1852-1934) will be there. Although known for being the inspiration for the ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ books by Lewis Carroll, as an adult, she was a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment during World War One. You can help her make and apply surgical dressings.

Explore the science of aerodynamics with Hardit Singh Malik (1894-1985), the first Indian Royal Flying Core (later RAF) pilot, a diplomat, civil servant and first-class cricketer. Try your hand at the paper aeroplane competition and get cricketing tips from a master.

The academic Franciscan friar Roger Bacon (1212/20-1292) was inspired by Greek and Arabic science and wrote on mathematics, optics, alchemy and astrology. He invites you to join him in his experiments with lenses. What will you be able to see?

Saint Frideswide (650-727) is the patron saint of Oxford and the University. She sits at a table carefully illuminating a scroll of paper. Her story is told in medieval texts, and she will show you how to make beautiful, illuminated manuscripts of your own.

A merry band of musicians transport us through time with ballads and melodies, wandering into the street and around the Museum, playing and singing. They know a lot about instruments and will show you how they have changed over time and how they are made. Let them teach you a few old songs.

Scribes, artists, makers, scientists and shopkeepers from the past pop up throughout the museum to talk about the exhibitions, demonstrate their skills and invite you to try them for yourself.

Alongside these historical figures, present day artists will be at the museum including Rana Ibrahim, Founder and Director at Iraqi Woman Art and War. She will be positioned by an exhibition on Iraqi culture and will show you how to write your name in beautiful Arabic calligraphy.

There will be lots of chances, throughout the day, to take part in activities led by local artists such as making mosaics, art, dance and music all for free in the Museum’s new galleries.


“The Museum of Oxford is a wonderful treasure of a place where unexpected stories about the city can be discovered. The 'Rewind Time' family day is going to be an exciting occasion for everyone and anyone to explore the galleries, meet some wonderful characters and learn about our culture and history.”

Councillor Mary Clarkson, Cabinet member of Culture, Leisure and Tourism

Rewind Time family day, on 9 April 9, is a free, celebration drop-in event funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Everyone attending will be given a passport to enter the museum. Each character will add a mark to the passport which, when combined will reveal a secret message. Everyone who completes the message will win a prize.

Families are warned that Rewind Time will be seriously entertaining as their children will be beguiled by local history and stories from the past. Adults travelling around the museum are likely to find themselves joining in.

To find out more about Rewind Time visit the Museum of Oxford's website.

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