Let us give thanks to Lieutenant-General Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt Rivers, whose formidable passion for archaeology and ethnology resulted in the core collection of the museum which bears his name.
Housed in a beautiful Victorian structure which sits at the end of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers is strange and wonderful. Elegant glass cases are packed with exhibits of varying provenance and vintage – musical instruments, masks, toys, clothes, weapons, coins. Drawers beneath the cases, some of which can be opened by visitors, are jammed with still more objects. The visitor is overwhelmed. The room is dark, totem poles loom; canoes, spears, paddles are suspended from the ceilings.
The collection rambles over three floors, each packed with yet more exhibits delivering a fresh sense of wonder and a different perspective on the peculiarities, idiosyncrasies and similarities of all humankind.
Pitt Rivers Museum, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW
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