Ever since the Ashmolean opened in 1683, complete with an experimental laboratory in the basement, the museum's collections and keepers have played a vital role in the Oxford curriculum. Today, Ashmolean curators supervise doctoral research, convene seminars, give lectures, and teach classes and courses for the undergraduate and masters degrees.
In 2012, the Ashmolean University Engagement Programme, generously funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation, began to re-imagine the Ashmolean's potential as a resource for academic engagement at Oxford and beyond.
Since then, new classes, new courses and new cross-disciplinary partnerships have broadened the range of subjects regularly employing object-centred learning in the Museum to include, for example, Medieval and Modern Languages, Geography, History, Tibetan Studies, Mathematics, Anthropology, Medicine, Business and English Literature.
As well as enhancing the degree programmes of Oxford students, these collaborations also offer the chance for their teachers to engage more deeply with the products of material and visual culture. Programmes like the Faculty Fellowships have brought fresh faculty thinking to bear on the collections. Eloquent Things and Krasis have made the Ashmolean a key centre for early-career scholars to develop their skills in object-based teaching and learning, whilst Our Museum Our Voices opens the Museum to diverse observations and new interpretations.