27 episodes

The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Museum Secrets is produced and presented by Lucie Dawkins.

Museum Secrets Ashmolean Museum

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 22 Ratings

The curators at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum have been recording bite-sized tales of the wonderful, and sometimes unexpected, life of a museum. We can’t wait to share them with you! Museum Secrets is produced and presented by Lucie Dawkins.

    A Miniature Masterpiece

    A Miniature Masterpiece

    Join Mallica Kumbera Landrus, the Keeper of Eastern Art, as she introduces us to a tiny drawing made by a child genius. This scrap of paper tells a story of cultures embracing each other across vast distances and the curiosity of one exceptional 13 year old boy in Mughal India, 421 years ago.

    Christ on the Cross, Albrecht Dürer, 1511 - Find out more
    Saint John the Evangelist, Abu l'-Hasan, 1600–1601 - Find out more

    If you want to take a closer look at the objects in this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets

    Producer: Lucie Dawkins
    Episode Presenter: Mallica Kumbera Landrus

    About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.

    • 13 min
    Toad Vaccines and Magical Jewellery

    Toad Vaccines and Magical Jewellery

    Join curator Matthew Winterbottom as he explores ancient beliefs about disease testing and vaccines, through the Ashmolean’s collection of toadstone rings. These bizarre pieces of jewellery have a lot to tell us about the human effort to find hope in the face of illness and uncertainty, even when it involves the strangest superstitions. And at the end of the day, it turns out that toadstones have nothing to do with toads after all…

    Charm ring with toadstone – Find out more
    Gold and toadstone ring - Find out more
    Silver and toadstone ring -  Find out more
    Silver and toadstone charm ring - Find out more

    If you want to take a closer look at the objects in this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets

    Producer: Lucie Dawkins
    Episode Presenters: Lucie Dawkins and Matthew Winterbottom

    About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.

    • 8 min
    Rules for Life

    Rules for Life

    In this episode we take a look at an understated little painting by the artist Gwen John, which hides complex depths. Gwen was one of the greatest and least known artists of the 20th century, who lived a life according to her own rules – literally. Her memos to herself are a guidebook for finding joy in solitude, and living largely and deeply on your own terms.

    The Convalescent, by Gwen John – Find out more

    If you want to take a closer look at painting in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets

    Producer and Presenter: Lucie Dawkins

    About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.

    • 9 min
    Opening the Box

    Opening the Box

    Join teaching curator Jim Harris as he peers inside a tiny tortoiseshell box. The little box holds a secret portrait of a woman, with a lock of her hair. The tiny empty space inside is stuffed with hidden stories, about wealth and the often ugly means of making it. This polite and pretty little box has so much us to tell us about memory.

    Portrait of Sophie Schutz in a tortoiseshell box – Find out more

    If you want to take a closer look at artwork in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets

    Producer: Lucie Dawkins
    Presenters: Lucie Dawkins and Jim Harris

    About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.

    • 16 min
    Devilry and Pink Ribbons

    Devilry and Pink Ribbons

    Join An Van Camp, the Assistant Keeper of Northern European Art, as she lifts the lid on some strange boxes in the Museum's stores. Some contain witches, others devils, others letters of the alphabet wrapped in pink ribbons. They all belonged to the same man – the eccentric Francis Douce.

    Dürer drawing of two witches – Find out more
    Portrait of Francis Douce – Find out more

    If you want to take a closer look at artworks relating to this episode, you can view them at the links above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets

    Producer: Lucie Dawkins
    Presenters: Lucie Dawkins and An Van Camp

    About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.

    • 14 min
    Soaring Above the Clouds

    Soaring Above the Clouds

    Join Clare Pollard, the Curator of Japanese Art, as she gives us a tour of Japan’s first skyscraper, through a vibrant and intriguing print, with some hidden surprises. It tells a story of a turning point in Japanese history, and also doubles as a board game. 

    Ryōunkaku Tower Game – Find out more

    If you want to take a closer look at the woodblock print in this episode, you can view it at the link above, or visit the podcast page on the Ashmolean website: ashmolean.org/museum-secrets

    Producer: Lucie Dawkins
    Presenters: Lucie Dawkins and Clare Pollard

    About Museum Secrets: Welcome to season 2 of Museum Secrets. Every week Lucie Dawkins will  take you behind the scenes at the University of Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. There are a million objects here in the Museum, each with its own hidden story. Come on in, as we track down the weird and wonderful among them, to give us a bitesized pick-me-up in these challenging times. Join us every week for a daily dose of cheer.

    • 12 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

HadToHaveIt ,

Illuminating and Soothing

In a time when it’s not possible/practical to go to museums, Museum Secrets brings the museum to you! The entertaining stories are narrative snapshots of the Ashmolean Museum - a guided tour without the walking. I find them fascinating

Bee King ,

Stay in and visit the Ashmolean Museum with Museum Secrets

When I saw that The Ashmolean Museum was going to start a podcast I was thrilled! I have been in pandemic lockdown since March and I haven’t been able to visit museums, leaving me in desperate need of a museum fix. So far, I have not been let down! It’s really fun hearing about specific pieces like Still Life of Asparagus (I know that sounds dull, but it is really beautifully explained!) or the Laocoön cast; more specifically his naughty bits. I was surprised and somewhat sadden that the episodes weren’t longer, but they release daily to keep me coming back. Definitely brightened the end of this trash fire year. Thanks Ashmolean!

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