By the light of the Moon

White rabbit

We recently brought you the breaking news that the animals on our Goes to Town trail had escaped from their cases and were planning to return here to reopen the Museum on Saturday 15 February.

We can now reveal that these creatures have been sighted, skulking by the light of the Moon, and making their final preparations for this reopening party. It seems that the Museum will be Darkened no longer, and most certainly not Dormant.

See you there…

Good news travels fast

BBC Oxford's Martin Eastaugh talks to architect Nicholas Bradley

BBC Oxford’s Martin Eastaugh (R) talks to architect Nicholas Bradley (L)

The Museum’s been at the centre of a media whirlwind over the past week. After a rather dormant year, things are coming back to life and the TV cameras, microphones and journalists are keen to capture it all.

Wednesday 15th January marked one month until the day when our doors will swing open again, so it was great to hear us popping up on BBC Oxford… both TV and radio in one day!

IMG_0718Radio journalist Martin Eastaugh seemed to thoroughly enjoy his time with us and put together a really enthusiastic report, which features some names you may recognise. Listen from 01:55 to hear the latest on the Museum’s re-opening. Then at 02:50, make sure you listen to Martin talking to Purcell architect Nicholas Bradley high up on the roof. You have just 5 days left to hear the report, so don’t dawdle!

The BBC TV cameras arrived just in time to capture the unwrapping of one of our very largest specimens, the Iguanodon skeleton. Take a look at Stuart Tinworth’s piece for BBC Oxford news that shows just how beautiful and light the Museum is looking lately.

Museum staff unwrapping the Iguanodon

Museum staff unwrapping the Iguanodon skeleton

Then, to top it off, we’re only on the front page of the Oxford Times!

Of course, the attention’s very nice, but the most positive thing that’s come out of the media coverage is the public’s reaction. We’ve had many people telling us how excited they were to see their “favourite museum” on TV and to hear that they’ll soon be able to come back and enjoy it once more. The good news is, there’s just 29 days to go!

Rachel Parle, Interpretation and Education Officer

Mystery in the Museum

Shaun Evans in the Museum Credit: Scott Billings

Shaun Evans in the Museum
Credit: Scott Billings

A closed museum makes for an intriguing film set. Wrapped skeletons, shadowy corridors and empty echoing spaces create the perfect atmosphere for a mystery.

Canvas wrapping transports a camel to the 1960s Credit: Scott Billings

Canvas wrapping transports a camel to the 1960s Credit: Scott Billings

This week we’ve had the cast and crew of the ITV1 detective series Endeavour filming in the Museum. Endeavour is a prequel to Inspector Morse, the famous Oxford-based series that ran for 13 years. Production company Mammoth Screen are currently making the second series of Endeavour, which stars Shaun Evans as the young Morse making his name as a detective.

Endeavour is set in the 1960s so, to achieve an authentic period look, preparations by the production team started in the Museum last week. Skeletons that were covered in plastic and foam were given a retro make-over with canvas draping, and modern displays were temporarily replaced by ’60s style versions.

Credit: Scott Billings

Credit: Scott Billings

There was a very dramatic atmosphere in the Museum, with impeccably dressed cast sporting coiffed bouffant hair dos and convincing period outfits. The police officers looked pretty striking!

Credit: Mike Peckett

Credit: Mike Peckett

At the end of the day on Monday, I was lucky enough to bump into the star of the show, young Endeavour Morse himself, played by Shaun Evans. Shaun was exploring the Museum after closing, during a break in filming. He had never visited the Museum before, so enjoyed the opportunity to see if without the crowds. Shaun was very friendly and enthusiastic about the beautiful architecture so we suggested he comes back when we re-open to see the building in its full glory.

June and Keith Marsh on-set int he Museum Credit: Mike Peckett

June and Keith Marsh on-set in the Museum
Credit: Mike Peckett



Yesterday I spoke to Alex Cox, Location Manager, and tried to find out the secrets behind the episode. He was rather mysterious himself, only giving away some tiny clues about the story. What he could tell me is that the Museum will feature in the second episode in the new series, which is called ‘Nocturne’. It will be aired on Sunday 6th April 2014, so make sure you tune in!

Although Alex wasn’t budging on the twists and turns of the plot, he did go as far as to say that some of the crucial scenes were filmed in the Museum’s historic spaces… including some investigations!

Credit: Scott Billings

Credit: Scott Billings

Alex was also keen to emphasise that the link between Morse and Oxford is still as strong as ever. As he put it, “Morse loves Oxford and Oxford loves Morse”. It seems that the Museum is the ideal location for their filming; “This episode has a very Gothic and dark atmosphere, so the splendour of the Museum’s architecture suits the mood superbly”.

The one enigmatic clue that Alex gave away was “Every house has its secrets… and some may be hidden in the Museum…” Can’t wait until April!


Rachel Parle, Education Officer