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Founded in 1966 and housed in a converted warehouse, Modern Art Oxford specializes in 20th-century art. Permanent displays of paintings and drawings are complemented by regular temporary exhibitions of modern sculpture, photography, paintings, printing, ceramics and textiles. Don't be put off by the building's characterless exterior. In fact once inside, you'll probably find that the stark white walls are the perfect setting for the exhibits. MOMA also has a comprehensive program of lectures, concerts and films. The shop, which is full of mainly art-related books, artwork, posters and other goodies, is a great place to buy gifts.
For those who enjoy the beauty and craftsmanship of early scientific instruments, this museum is full of delights. The building was opened in 1683 as the original Ashmolean Museum. It now houses the renowned Lewis Evans collection of clocks, sundials and other mathematical and astronomical instruments. Amongst the most prized pieces on show is the blackboard (complete with calculations) used by Einstein when he lectured in Oxford on the theory of relativity.
Standing over the entrance to the most famous Oxford college, Tom Tower is a landmark in itself. This imposing octagonal tower with a lead-covered cupola was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1682. It was constructed on top of an archway and turrets dating from the 16th Century and houses Great Tom - the loudest bell in Oxford. Weighing more than seven tons, the bell chimes 101 times at 9.05p every evening to recall not only the 101 students residing in Christ Church when the tower was completed, but also the time by which they were supposed to be in bed.
Christ Church is the most famous Oxford college, probably the grandest and certainly the most photographed. Founded as Cardinal College in 1525 by Cardinal Wolsey, the college became Christ Church in 1545. The college chapel, which is also the cathedral of the Oxford diocese, contains the reconstructed shrine of St. Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford, a rich variety of stained and painted glass including works by Abraham van Linge and Edward Burns-Jones and a rare panel depicting the martyrdom of St. Thomas A. Becket.
Founded in 1868, Keble was the first Oxford college to be built of brick rather than stone, the first to be built by public subscription rather than by a wealthy benefactor and the first to be built with corridors instead of rooms leading off staircases. Keble's red, yellow and blue brickwork provokes a variety of reactions, and certainly makes this college stand out from the others. Inside, the chapel walls are decorated with Venetian mosaics, and to assure their authenticity, craftsmen and an oven were imported from Venice so that the work could be carried out on site.
Christ Church Picture Gallery is no ordinary college picture gallery. The collection began in the 18th Century as the result of a gift of hundreds of paintings and nearly 2000 drawings from General John Guise, a former student of Christ Church. The permanent display has been added to since then and now features works by Van Dyck and Frans Hals, as well as a selection of drawings by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rubens. The gallery also houses displays of English glass and Russian icons. Entrance to the college is free if only visiting the gallery.
Turn the corner into Radcliffe Square and you'll see why the Radcliffe Camera is one of the most admired buildings in Oxford. This was the first round library to be built in Britain by John Radcliffe, who studied at Oxford and left much of his wealth and all of his medical books to the university. Building work started in 1737 and in 1860 it became part of the Bodleian Library. It is now used as reading rooms and is not open to the public, but the exterior view is more than enough to make this building worth visiting.
Completed in 1858, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History contains a wonderful exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, plus numerous curiosities including the remains of a dodo. This is a traditionally styled museum, but nonetheless holds delights for all the family. Venture upstairs to find the vast zoology, mineralogy and geology displays. At the rear, is the Pitt Rivers Museum which houses one of the world's finest collections of anthropological and archaeological exhibits. Also found within the premises of the museum are a souvenir shop and a Café.
Merton isn't one of the best known Oxford colleges, but it is one of the largest, and one of three colleges claiming to be the oldest in Oxford (the others are Balliol and University). Founded in 1264 by Walter de Merton, the college has the oldest buildings in the entire university and the oldest surviving medieval library.
Head for the spot where New College Lane meets Queen's Lane, enter through the narrow gate tower, and you'll find a college much more extensive and spacious than you'd have imagined. This was the seventh Oxford college to be founded (in 1379) and the first to admit undergraduates. New College Oxford boasts of an ancient city wall, as well as the impressive great quadrangle, with buildings dating from the 15th Century. The college chapel has a window painted by Thomas Jervais in the late 18th Century. The style of the nativity scene caused great controversy at the time, not least because the artist incorporated society figures of the day into the painting, including for instance, the wife of the poet Sheridan as the Virgin Mary.
The Queen's College is probably the finest example of classical architecture in Oxford. The college was founded in 1340, but the original buildings have gone, and a rebuilding program in the 17th and 18th Centuries resulted in the quadrangles we see today. The architecture of the front quadrangle is particularly noteworthy, and was heavily influenced by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. The screen wall that fronts the High Street also owes much to Hawksmoor, though it is attributed to a local Oxford mason William Townesend. This college is only open to the public on official city tours.
Founded in 1621, the garden originally provided medicinal herbs. Today, the Oxford Botanic Garden has evolved into a vast collection of over 8,000 plants in a compact, beautifully laid-out setting accurately reflecting the appearance of a Tudor or Stuart college garden. Tucked away close to the edge of the central district, it is a breeding ground of research, conservation, and intensive studies centered around biology, botany, horticulture and gardening. Dissected into two major parts, together, the garden is like a breathing canvas that is home to an array of theme-based collections which include the 'Plants that Changed the World' exhibit. The troupe of glasshouses that are adorned with bursts of colors and scents lent by rarefied and exotic blooming species is particularly a subject of interest and intrigue to the visitors. Occupying a place of pride in the prestigious University of Oxford, the Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum is hence, a legendary amalgam of nature and education.