Our vision is for a people’s museum, a resource for discovering, interpreting, and sharing the rich heritage of Oxford’s diverse communities. Our focus will be on individuals, communities and businesses whose stories have sometimes been overwhelmed by Oxford’s defining narratives. The museum will create a transformational experience and visitors who engage with Oxford’s hidden histories will see the city in a different and richer light.
The new museum will:
- make objects currently in storage accessible; uncover archival records mapping the city’s development; and explore Oxford's heritage through academic research and oral histories
- build on strong relationships with the city’s communities - including new and emerging communities - to develop dynamic, flexible exhibitions co-curated with those communities
- deepen the visitor experience through state of the art, interactive displays
- provide more space, and more flexible use of space to accommodate school, group and tourist visits, community use, and events.
As our audiences have grown it has become clear that our spaces within the Town Hall for museum activities are limiting the opportunities that can be offered. Visitors, especially families and local community groups, want access to more of the collection and more hands-on activities. As the only museum which focuses on the city and its communities, we need the space and capacity to represent and accommodate those communities, as well as our national and international visitors.
This redevelopment will enable us to expand the two, small permanent exhibition spaces into the old museum and it will consolidate education, community, retail and staff facilities, into one fully accessible space. The project will provide more space, and flexibility, to accommodate school, group and tourist visits, community use, and events. We want to improve flow between the spaces, with improved accessibility so that the Museum feels integrated with the Town Hall.