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The New Ashmolean

Oxford’s famous Ashmolean Museum had been shut all the time I have lived here due to a process of transformation but it recently reopened and, after an information session at the Computer Services department finished earlier than expected, I popped in for a visit.

I hate to say it but I was not overly impressed. The building itself is gorgeous, a wonderful merging of classic architecture with some stunning modern layouts inside. However, I noticed that a lot of the display cases seemed to be unfinished, such as the “invisible” sword that I didn’t see in the Anglo-Saxon section on the second floor. Also, while there were various benches and seats to rest on, most didn’t seem to give particularly prime views of the exhibits.

Perhaps it is still too early to judge but, for me, it falls behind the fecund grandeur of the Museum of Natural History, the quirkiness of the Museum of the History of Science and the shrunken heads of the densely packed Pitt Rivers. Oh — and they really shouldn’t be using that small black version of the University logotype either although I suppose the blue would have looked awful against the teal colouring they have chosen!

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