Britain's oldest public museum, second in repute only to London's British Museum, was established in 1683 when Elias Ashmole presented the university with the collection of curiosities amassed by the well-travelled John Tradescant, gardener to Charles I. Today its four floors feature interactive displays, a giant atrium, glass walls revealing galleries on different levels and a beautifully sited rooftop restaurant. Collections, displayed in bright, spacious, attractive galleries within one of Britain's best examples of neoclassical architecture, span the world.

Historical treasures include Egyptian mummies, Islamic art, Indian textiles, ancient documents, rare porcelain, tapestries, silverware, priceless musical instruments, extensive displays of European art and, famously, the Anglo-Saxon Alfred Jewel.