Ashmolean Museum, in full Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, one of the four museums of the University of Oxford and the oldest public museum of art, archaeology, and natural history in Great Britain.
It was established to house collections donated to the university in 1677 by Elias Ashmole, an antiquarian who had inherited the bulk of the collections from a friend, John Tradescant.
The museum was opened to the public on May 24, 1683 in a building designed by Thomas Wood. Initially the collection was primarily concerned with natural history, and it remained the centre of scientific studies at Oxford for 150 years.
In the 19th century the growth and variety of new acquisitions resulted in the dispersal and rehousing of the collections, with the Ashmolean Museum retaining the archaeological and art collections. The museum has especially rich collections of ancient Egyptian art and Italian Renaissance drawings.
Today, the collection at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology ranges in time from the earliest implements of man, made about 500,000 years ago, to 20th century works of art. Among the collection of antiquities and artwork are curiosities like Guy Fawkes’ lantern and relics like the Alfred Jewel.
According to history.com – Britannica.com