Tuesday, October 22, 2013


On Thursday my daughter had no school due to a teachers strike. So we decided to have a day out to Oxford. It's not far on the train and the sun was shining. The perfect day for an adventure. We were heading to this majestic building below, home to the Pitt Rivers museum.    
Inside it is just as impressive.
The Pitt Rivers museum is a collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts. It was  founded in 1884 by one Lt General Augustus Pitt Rivers, after he donated his collection to the University of Oxford.
It's an amazing place filled to the brim with curiosities from all over the world. Inside the light is dim. Much darker than the picture above in which my camera made things look far brighter, compensating for the lack of light. A kind light for the old things and just right to add to the atmosphere. There was so much to photograph and look at and read and on top of that there were drawers underneath filled with even more secret wonders! To be honest I would have been happy just staying in here all day with a notebook and pencil sketching and writing. Anyway here are a few  of the things that I took pictures of. Things that jumped out and spoke to me.
Ornate keys which made me wonder about their stories. Which doors had they opened? Who had been their keepers?  
 Magical things
Most objects were labelled by the tiniest writing imaginable.Others were more readable.
Above, the small paws of a poor mole, cut off while still alive. It's feet kept in the pocket of a man, as a cure for toothache!  I am fascinated by the past and things such as this, but I'm so glad that we have progressed with cures for toothache these days.  I'm sure the mole would be too!
If you suffered from warts, then the charm below would have been for you...
In case it's too small for your to read this is what it says on the label.
"Charm for warts Oxfordshire~ Go out alone and find a large black slug. Secretly rub the underside on the warts and impale the slug and thorn. As the slug dies the warts will go"

This little bird made me feel sad.
Shadow Puppets
I loved the colours and designs of these old playing cards
And was  particularly attracted to all the things depicting animals of course.  
It was very atmospheric in the museum and some of the things such as the shrunken heads, weapons and ancient surgical instruments were rather unnerving. It made us wonder what it would be like to stay the night, or be there in the dark surrounded by all of these objects that hold the spirit and ghosts of people. Then I found this video showing the museum viewed by torchlight, which I thought you might like to see. 

I gazed in awe, as I always do, at the beauty of mother natures creations in the natural history part of the museum.
On our way to lunch we passed the most adorable little cottage.
And met a white rabbit blowing bubbles. :)
We were lucky that the day was dry and warm. There were lots of ladybirds flying around the old university buildings. On their way to look for a good sleeping places for winter I expect, which I'm sure they will find among the many stone buildings here. 
Our last stop, after a little shopping, (well I am with a teenage girl. ;)) was this fabulous exhibition that was totally unexpected as I hadn't known it was on.
Original sketches and notes by Tolkien, JK Rowling, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman and CS Lewis, including his original map sketch of Narnia. There were also some very old looking books and manuscripts concerning magic and angels, and some illuminated with gold. All was so wonderful to see, what a rare treat.  Sadly  no photography was allowed inside, so I will have to keep all of these precious images in my head. What a special end to a great day out.


  1. I love the Pitt Rivers. A museum to return and return to. So glad you had a wonderful day.

  2. A wonderful day out! I'd love to go to the Pitt Rivers museum but alas it's a long way from Anglesey...one day.

  3. The Pitt Rivers seems to be a real-life version of the best kind of l storybook attic.

  4. Lovely post....I only spend one day in Oxford during a tour of southern England and loved the beauty and atmosphere of the city. Would love to return at visit the museum, thanks for sharing! Anita xx

  5. Pitt Rivers is one of my very favourite places. Have you ever been into the Museum of the History of Science? Went in by chance last year and it is full of incredibly beautiful globes and orreries (sp?) and astrolabes. We were in there for ages. Highly recommended!

  6. What a coincidence! I just visited Pitt Rivers this week! Highly recommend it to everyone, bursting with treasures isn't it? Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs and adventures. x

  7. What a wonderful day out! I'm now dying to go back there again soon. It's been a few years since I've been to the Pitt Rivers and I'd forgotten ow much there was to see! My lasting memory is the shrunken heads as I was very shocked and disturbed by them but those playing cards I have to see again and the puppets and the spells and...everything! Thanks for taking us along with you for a virtual visit Karen. :) Jess xx

  8. A wonderful tour ! I too, would be content with a lot of time spent in this marvelous place. Thank You.

  9. Thank you for this most amazing tour; it's been a while since I've been to Oxford and didn't visit Pitt Rivers Museum while there. That must be rectified next visit.

  10. What an amazing place. I haven't been to Oxford for ages but I am sure my sons would love it - maybe in the spring. Thanks for the idea. xx


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