University of Oxford Homepage


Regulations for the Museum of the History of Science

Council Regulations 5 of 2003

Made by Council on 16 October 2003
Amended on 5 May 2005, 17 November 2005, 22 March 2007, 15 January 2009 (
Gazette Vol. 139, p. 507; Vol. 141, p. 110, 21 October 2010), 16 February 2012, 21 June 2012, 11 October 2012, 4 December 2015 (Gazette, Vol. 146, p. 154, 19 November 2015) and 1 August 2016 (Gazette, Vol. 146, p. 692, 7 July 2016)


1. The purpose of the museum shall be to assemble, preserve, and exhibit objects illustrating the History of Science, especially early scientific instruments, together with related books and manuscripts, to assist in relevant teaching and research within the University, and to facilitate, assist, and promote scholarly and public knowledge of the History of Science.


2. The Visitors of the Museum shall be:

(1) the Vice-Chancellor;

(2) a chair who shall be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor;

(3) the Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Gardens, Libraries and Museums;

(4) one of the Proctors or the Assessor as may be agreed between them;

(5) the Professor of the History of Science;

(6) the Reader in the History of Medicine;

(7) one person appointed by Council from among the directors and curators of the university museums other than the Museum of the History of Science;

(8)–(11) one person from each of the four academic divisions appointed by Council.

3. (1) The Visitors may co-opt up to four additional members, who may be internal or external, and who need not be members of Congregation.

(2) The period of office for appointed and co-opted members shall be three years, and no appointed, elected, or co-opted member shall serve more than two consecutive full terms of office. Casual terms of office shall not count towards this limit.

(3) Notwithstanding regulation (2) above, in the case of appointed and co-opted members, the General Purposes Committee of Council may determine that one further consecutive period is permitted in an individual case.

4. The Director of the Museum of the History of Science shall be the secretary to the Visitors, except that the Visitors may require him or her to withdraw from any meeting.

5. In addition, and in fulfilment of their responsibilities, under Council, for the safe keeping, preservation, orderly administration, finance, and general policy of the museum and its collections, in accordance with section 8 of Statute VIII, the Visitors:

(1) shall, subject to the provisions of regulation 13 below, appoint, or delegate the appointment of, all staff in the museum in accordance with procedures set out in standing orders;

(2) shall prepare annually a report on the activities of the museum; and

(3) shall discuss, and actively support, the Museum’s strategic vision.

6. The Visitors shall have authority under Council and the Oxford University Museums Board, to make such arrangements by standing order as are necessary to fulfil their responsibilities.

7. In carrying out their responsibilities the Visitors shall co-operate with the Oxford University Museums Board in facilitating co-ordination between the University's museums and scientific collections, particularly with respect to planning, allocation, and use of resources, and the development, care, and promotion of the collections as national and international resources both for teaching and research and for public access.

8. The Visitors shall co-operate with relevant faculties and departments to promote teaching and research in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology within the University.

9. The Visitors shall, in consultation with the relevant departments, be responsible for devising and monitoring a coherent policy relating to the disposition of redundant scientific equipment of actual or potential historic interest no longer required by departments of the University.

Director of the Museum of the History of Science

10. The Director of the Museum of the History of Science shall be the first officer of the museum, and shall act for and be responsible to the Visitors in the exercise of their powers.

11. The Director shall be responsible under the Visitors for all strategic aspects of the operation and well-being of the museum, including:

(1) the allocation and development of space and other resources;

(2) the distribution of support and other facilities;

(3) acquisitions policy;

(4) the conservation and study of the collections, and their display and publication; and

(5) the participation in, and fostering of, scholarly work and public education within the museum.

12. The Director shall give sixteen lectures or classes in each academic year under the direction of the Visitors in consultation with the divisional or faculty board concerned.

13. The Director shall be appointed by a board of electors consisting of:

(1) the Vice-Chancellor, or, if the head of the college specified in paragraph (2) of this regulation is Vice-Chancellor, a person appointed by Council;

(2) the head of the college with which the directorship is on that occasion associated, or, if the head is unable or unwilling to act, a person appointed by the governing body of the college;

(3) a person appointed by the governing body of the college specified in paragraph (2) of this regulation;

(4) a person appointed by Council;

(5) the Professor of the History of Science;

(6)–(9)four persons appointed by the Visitors.

Assistant Keepers

14. (1) Assistant Keepers shall assist the Director in discharging the duties laid down in regulation 11 above.

(2) Assistant Keepers shall contribute to the teaching of such courses of instruction as are arranged by the museum.