Revamped OUP museum aims to make impression

thisisoxfordshire: Oxford University Press archivist, Dr Martin Maw in their revamped museum. Picture: OX53907 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo » Oxford University Press archivist, Dr Martin Maw in their revamped museum. Picture: OX53907 Damian Halliwell

HIDDEN away in the Oxford University Press headquarters is a fascinating museum tracing the history of publishing back to the 15th century.

While the Ashmolean Museum attracts one million visitors a year, the museum at the OUP building in Walton Street only brings in about 3,000 people.

But staff want more visitors to see the historic treasures linked with the publishing industry and a six-figure sum has been spent revamping the attraction.

The improved museum is now open but on Monday, September 10, Lord Mayor Alan Armitage will officially relaunch it.

The attraction includes displays on OUP buildings, types dating back to the 17th century, the Oxford Almanacks, Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland and the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as printing equipment, a 19th century printing press, and access to OUP’s latest publications online.

A refurbishment project has recently been completed, which includes new activity stations, cases and panels.

Archivist Martin Maw, from Oxford, who has worked for OUP for 14 years, said: “The museum shows the involvement of the university in the printing trade that has been going for about 500 years, and has played a big part in the suburb of Jericho and the surrounding area.

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“Staff are very proud of the museum, but we want more people to come and see the displays.

“A museum was set up in the 1990s and we wanted to bring it up to date and give more prominence to the way OUP has grown over the years. “We are now a global concern with more then 6,000 employees around the world and we wanted to be able to focus on the digital platforms we now have.

“The online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary shows the language changing before your eyes and English is well on the way to becoming the first world language.

“There are touchscreen computers showing present-day digital resources and listening posts featuring music from a selection of Oxford composers, including William Walton and Vaughan Williams.”

Mr Maw added that one of his favourite exhibits was a printing plate used for the Alice in Wonderland stories.

The museum, which can be entered from Great Clarendon Street, is open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

All visits are accompanied by a member of staff and anyone wishing to visit the museum must book a time slot in advance.

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