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Eccentricity Special Exhibition Banner

Science and Oxford are two traditional sources of eccentricity. Eccentric scientists are familiar creations of the media and eccentric Oxford academics inhabit both literary fiction and historical fact.

Charles Daubeny Feeding his Monkeys

Eccentric Oxford scientist Charles Daubeny kept monkeys in a cage in the gate of the Botanic Garden. (Drawing by Francis Mosley)



Over the years the Museum has taken a broad approach to collecting, and contains many unexpected objects, often hidden away in the store. This recently held special exhibition showed some of the most intriguing of these, telling their stories, and the stories of their eccentric owners. Who would have thought that a museum of science would have a large collection of typewriters, a Japanese mechanical fly-trap, a 19th-century clockwork bird-scarer or an astrolabe belonging to Nostradamus?


MHS invited contributions from young and old. The Fourth Plinth offered an opportunity to exhibit your very own object in the museum.  Thank you to all our contributors.

Competition! Eccentric Inventions Drawing Competition called all children aged 5-16 to let the imagination run wild in drawing weird and wonderful inventions with a chance to display in the museum and on this web site.

Keep Informed

Those who subscribed to the exhibition blog, the Eccentricity Curator’s Scrapbook and followed the Museum on Twitter (we’re @MHSOxford) were able to discover daily eccentric objects and stories from the exhibition.

The exhibition ran from 10th May – 16th October in the Special Exhibition Gallery, finishing with the Eccentricity Debate, hosted by Bill Heine of BBC Radio Oxford.

An extensive programme of associated events was included throughout the duration of the exhibition. Download a copy of the events programme.


See the exhibition video.