Museums and Groups in Oxfordshire

There are plenty of ways to get involved with the history and archaeology of Oxfordshire. Why not visit a museum or join an archaeological society?

Many Portable Antiquities Scheme finds can be seen on display at museums around the county (see the links that accompany the descriptions below).


Ashmolean Museum

One of the oldest and greatest museums in Europe, the Ashmolean is the museum for Oxford University.  Its archaeological and numismatic collections are vast, and include the Chalgrove hoard of Roman silver coins (PAS-879F02), the Anglo-Saxon Holderness cross (YORYM214), the Watlington Viking silver hoard (SUR-4A4231) and the Asthall hoard of medieval gold coins (BERK-0BB0E0).

The Oxfordshire Museum

This museum is housed in a beautiful 18th-century house in the heart of Woodstock. Its permanent galleries tell the story of Oxfordshire from dinosaurs to Victorians.

The Oxfordshire Museum is hosting a ’20 Years of Treasure’ exhibition celebrating finds recorded on the PAS database. Be sure to catch it before it closes on 31st March 2018.

Wallingford Museum

Wallingford Museum is a small but vibrant museum run entirely by volunteers, working closely with The Wallingford Historical and Archaeological Society.

Societies & Organisations

Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society

This society is the major county archaeological society.  In its early days it encouraged the use of an archaeologically correct Gothic revival style in church architecture – hence the name – and it still has a listed buildings committee and a Victorian group which monitor and comment on planning applications. The society organises frequent lectures, and publishes the prestigious peer-reviewed county journal Oxoniensia. All but the most recent volumes of Oxoniensia are now freely available on-line here.

South Oxfordshire Archaeological Group

SOAG is an active, independent archaeology group who carry out excavation and landscape archaeology in the south of the county. They organise lectures and summer visits, and have been working for many years on a major excavation of a Roman villa near Goring-on-Thames.

Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society

This society organises monthly lectures and summer visits. It encourages and supports personal researchers who study archaeology, standing buildings and local history. The Society’s website is full of useful resources.

Didcot and District Archaeological and Historical Society

This society was founded in 1976 to promote awareness of and conservation of archaeology, local history, heritage and artefacts. It organises monthly lectures.

Henley-on-Thames Archaeological and Historical Group

This group provides a forum for archaeologists, historians and others with similar local interests. It is active in archaeological excavation and building recording. On the local history side, it has compiled freely available databases of censuses (up to 1911) and 18th-century wills.

The Wallingford Historical and Archaeological Society

TWHAS members work on museum exhibitions, archaeological fieldwork, oral history and historical research. The society organises monthly lectures and its Documents Group compiles and maintains the Sources for Wallingford’s History resource.

Oxfordshire Local History Association

OLHA is primarily concerned with history, not archaeology, but it is still a very useful resource for archaeologists. It maintains a list of over 80 local history and archaeology groups in Oxfordshire, and has a website full of useful information and links.