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Regulations for the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology

Council Regulations 45 of 2002

Made by Council on 5 December 2002
Amended on 22 January 2004, 17 November 2005, 4 May 2006, 22 March 2007, 15 January 2009, 18 March 2010 and 11 October 2012 and 1 August 2016 (
Gazette, Vol. 146, p. 692, 7 July 2016)

* Purpose
* Governance
* Director of the Ashmolean Museum
* Deputy Director
* Keepers and Assistant Keepers
* Standing Committee of the Visitors


1. The purpose of the Ashmolean Museum is:

(1) to assemble, preserve, and exhibit such objects of art and antiquity and such printed and other documents as may increase knowledge of history, archaeology, and art;

(2) to assist in relevant teaching and research within the University; and

(3) in general to promote the study and appreciation of such objects and documents by scholars and the public.


2. (1) The Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum shall be:

(a) the Vice-Chancellor;

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

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

(d), (e) two persons appointed by the Humanities Board;

(f) the chairman of the School of Archaeology;

(g)–(i) three members of Congregation elected by Congregation;

(j)–(p) seven external persons appointed by Council, after consultation with the chairman and vice-chairman of the Visitors.

(2) The Vice-Chancellor, in consultation with the Visitors, shall appoint a chairman from among the members under (j)–(p) in paragraph (1) above and a vice-chairman from among the members under (d)-(i).

(3) The chairman and vice-chairman shall hold office for four years and may be reappointed for one further period of up to three years.

(4) Members under (d)-(p) in paragraph (1) above shall hold office as Visitors for four years and shall be re-eligible for one further period of office only.

(5) Casual vacancies shall be filled either for the remainder of the period of office of the person being replaced or, at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor, for a further full period.

(6) No person holding office in the museum shall be eligible to be a Visitor.

(7) The Visitors shall normally meet not less than six times a year.

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

4. The Deputy Director and the Administrator may attend the meetings of the Visitors and may speak (but not vote) on any matter affecting their respective responsibilities, except that the Visitors may require them to withdraw from any meeting.

5. In fulfilment of their responsibilities, under Council, for the safe keeping, preservation, orderly administration, finance, and general policy of the museum, in accordance with section 7 of Statute VIII, the Visitors:

(1) shall, subject to the provisions of regulation 11 below, appoint, or delegate the appointment of, all staff in the museum in accordance with procedures set out in standing orders, except that the Curatorship of the Cast Gallery shall be held by the Lincoln Professor of Classical Archaeology and Art by virtue of his or her office;

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

6. The Visitors shall have authority, under Council and the Oxford University Museums Board, to make such other 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.

Director of the Ashmolean Museum

8. The Director of the Ashmolean Museum shall be the first officer of the museum and shall act for and be responsible to the Visitors in the exercise of their powers.

9. 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 of space, resources, support services, and other facilities;

(2) acquisitions in accordance with the policy laid down by the Visitors;

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

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

10. The Director shall have the right to teach, subject to the Visitors being satisfied that this is not incompatible with the discharge of directorial responsibilities.

11. 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 the college;

(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 Council;

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

(4), (5) two persons appointed by Council;

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

Deputy Director

12. The Deputy Director shall, under the Director, have oversight of matters relating to the curation of the collections, that is, collection management, conservation, registry, exhibitions, research, and publications, and shall in general deputise for the Director as the latter may from time to time request.

Keepers and Assistant Keepers

13. There shall be the following Keepers in the museum who shall be responsible to the Director for the collections in their care:

(1) the Keeper of Antiquities;

(2) the Keeper of Western Art;

(3) the Keeper of Eastern Art;

(4) the Keeper of the Heberden Coin Room;

(5) the Curator of the Cast Gallery.

14. It shall be the duty of the Keepers to facilitate the inspection, study, and publication of the collections for which they are responsible.

15. The Keepers shall have power, in consultation with the Director and subject to such rules and policies as the Visitors may prescribe:

(1) to expend on maintenance or improvement all sums assigned specifically to their respective departments by gift, legacy, or benefaction or through allocation by the Visitors;

(2) to acquire by purchase or to receive by gift, legacy, exchange, or loan and to add to the collections entrusted to them such items as will increase the artistic or historical or archaeological value of the collections.

16. The Assistant Keepers shall, under the Director and the relevant Keeper, be responsible for the study, display, and interpretation of the collections under their care.

17. The Keepers and Assistant Keepers shall have the right to teach, subject to the Visitors being satisfied that this is not incompatible with the discharge of their curatorial responsibilities, and shall be expected to undertake research on the collections under their charge.

18. The Visitors may confer the title 'Senior Assistant Keeper' on appropriately qualified Assistant Keepers.

Standing Committee of the Visitors

19. There shall be a Standing Committee of the Visitors which shall advise the Director on day-to-day matters concerning the management of the museum and its collections and shall meet at such times and have such powers as the Visitors may from time to time prescribe.

20. The committee shall consist of:

(1)–(3) three persons appointed by the Visitors from among the members under (d)-(i) in regulation 2 (1) above;

(4), (5) two persons appointed by the Visitors from among the members under (j)-(p) in regulation 2 (1) above.

21. The Visitors shall appoint one of the members of the committee as its chairman.

22. The Director, Deputy Director, Keepers, Administrator, Head of Conservation, and Education Officer may attend and speak on any matter under consideration by the committee.