Adopt a piece of Oxford’s history – and help fund £2.8m Museum of Oxford redevelopment

Published: Monday, 7th August 2017

Oxford residents are being invited to adopt a piece of Oxford’s history to help fund the £2.8m redevelopment of the Museum of Oxford.

People will be able to adopt 60 objects from the Museum of Oxford’s collection, ranging from a Saxon arrowhead to a Morris Minor badge.    

Adopters will get an adoption certificate, a digital image of the object, their name in the museum’s online gallery and an invite to the new museum’s opening in 2020.

You can adopt an object for yourself or as a gift, with adoptions starting at £25.

Objects available for adoption included:

  • A bone ice skate from the Saxon period
  • Lewis Carroll’s pocket watch
  • A pavement made of animal knuckle bones
  • A 400-year-old tennis ball
  • Rainsley model of a St Giles attraction

All money raised through the adopt an object scheme will go towards the development of the Museum of Oxford. If all 60 objects are adopted, it will raise £5,000.

Oxfordshire County Council’s Museum Service, which owns many of the objects, has kindly allowed them to be adopted.

The £2.8m project to transform the Museum of Oxford, called Oxford’s Hidden Histories, will tell the story of Oxford, its people and its communities. It has been dubbed the “people’s museum”.

The City Council hopes to raise £1.6m through a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has set aside a further £315,000 for the project. It is hoped that the remaining funds will be raised through private donations.

The development trust, which will raise funds for the project, has been granted charity status by the Charities Commission. This allows the project to receive gift aid, and to apply to more trusts and foundations for funds.

The project will see the Old Museum, which was closed in 2011, reopened and knocked through from the Town Hall to create a new, large and purpose-built space.

As well as allowing the museum to display objects that are currently in storage, the redevelopment will feature hands-on activities and state-of-the-art displays.

The new museum will be three times the size of the current space and will allow us to increase the number of exhibits from 286 to 750.

The museum team is currently working up the detailed plans for the new museum, with the aim of submitting the funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year.

The hope is to start building work in 2018 and open the new Museum of Oxford in 2020.

Councillor Dee Sinclair, Executive Board Member for Culture and Communities, said: “This is a unique opportunity to adopt a piece of Oxford’s history and be part of our exciting project to create a new museum for Oxford, a museum that will tell the story of and celebrate the city’s diverse communities – a people’s museum.”

To adopt an object – or to find out more about the Museum of Oxford redevelopment project – please visit