Spend a week living at historic Oxford University and sample life as a student at Merton College. Study with renowned Oxford tutors and delve into one of four fascinating courses.

Starting at: $4,895 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
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Smithsonian at Oxford

Featuring Four New Courses of Study for 2017

8 days from $4,895

Spend a week living at historic Oxford University and sample life as a student at Merton College. Study with renowned Oxford tutors and delve into one of four fascinating courses.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Join Smithsonian Journeys at Oxford University and immerse yourself in the intellectual and cultural environment of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world. Given the past popularity of this Smithsonian Journeys program, and enthusiastic requests to bring it back to our collection, we once again return to Oxford. Join us at Merton College to study a subject in depth with others who share a deep and unbridled love of learning.

Highlights Include

  • Courses of Study: Stimulate your mind in pursuit of knowledge! Choose from four popular course subjects and spend your mornings learning from an expert. Course selections include: 20th Century History of the Country House, “Tragical-Comical” Shakespeare, The Archaeology of Britain, and Victorian Values: Culture, Crime, and Class in Victorian England.
  • Excursions: Tour the Ashmolean Museum and Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford. Plus, take an additional excursion tailored to your specific course. Those enrolled in The Country House will visit Buscot Park, a neoclassical country house. “Tragical-Comical” Shakespeare features a field trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company. The Archaeology of Britain group will travel to Birmingham to see the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. Victorian Values includes a tour of historical Bristol and the SS Great Britain, with a focus on Isambard Brunel, an engineering giant of the 19th-century.
  • Lifestyle: Stay at historic Merton College, featuring the university’s oldest quadrangle, and sample life as an Oxford student. Live in a dormitory room (with en suite bathroom), dine in the college hall (including the High Table at opening or closing dinner, a privileged tradition), and use Merton’s common rooms and gardens. Explore the charming town of Oxford, take tea at local eateries, and enjoy Evensong at Christ Church College.
  • Optional London Extension: Add a four-day extension that includes guided excursions related to the Oxford courses, plus accommodations, meals, and transfers. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for London, England

Depart the U.S. for London on individual flights.

Day 2 — London, Oxford

Arrive in London this morning and transfer to Oxford. (D)

Days 3-7 — Oxford

Lectures take place in Oxford. Choose from one of four courses: Twentieth Century History of the Country House, “Tragical-Comical” Shakespeare, The Archaeology of Britain, and Victorian Values: Culture, Crime, and Class in Victorian England.

Classes will be interspersed with excursions, including the Ashmolean Museum and Christ Church Picture Gallery in Oxford. Each course will also feature an additional special excursion tailored to its theme. (B,L,D)

  • Twentieth Century History of the Country House: Study the fall and rise of the English country house in the 20th and 21st centuries. The First and Second World Wars had enormous social and economic impact on the country house, to the extent that by 1955 one house a week was demolished in the United Kingdom. Historians described the rate of destruction as equivalent to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. However in recent years, the country house is enjoying a “Downton Boom.” This course explores how and why this change occurred considering both politics and popular culture.

Field Trip:  Travel to Buscot Park, a neoclassical-style country house built for Edward Loveden Townsend in the late 18th century. The property contains extensive formal and informal gardens, as well as an enduring art collection that includes pieces by Edward Burne-Jones and Rembrandt.

  • "Tragical-comical" Shakespeare: This course will focus on two of Shakespeare’s plays in which he explores the relationship between tragedy and comedy. Romeo and Juliet (1595) is so familiar that it is possible to forget how innovative and daring the play was during Shakespeare’s time. The zest that characterizes Shakespeare’s early career is evident in Romeo and Juliet, but The Winter’s Tale (1610), written in his last, great dramatic phase, approaches the mingling of kings and clowns from a different perspective, one that is full of maturity and mastery and which explores the deepest and most difficult of human emotions. Study the plays within their historical context and discover how they have been adapted for stage and screen.

Field Trip:  The course will include a field trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

  • The Archaeology of Britain: In the 5th century, Britain ceased to part of the Roman Empire and witnessed profound transformations, including the end of urban life, substantial migration from the Continent, a complete political restructuring, and abrupt discontinuity in processes of production and exchange: a situation many would call “systems collapse.” Learn about the events of the next half millennium and the rise of many complex developments, including the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, trading sites, towns, churches, and monasteries, punctuated by Viking raids culminating in the establishment of the Danelaw. All of these developments can be explored through archaeology, from artifacts like the swords and jewelry recovered from Sutton Hoo and the Staffordshire Hoard, to the excavation of Anglo-Saxon villages and early towns, as well as the architectural analysis of churches. This course covers all of these areas and more in order to teach a foundation in the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England. 

Field Trip:  This course will include a visit to the Staffordshire Hoard at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, composed of over 3,500 pieces that date back to the 7th and 8th centuries.

  • Victorian ValuesCulture, Crime, and Class in Victorian England: The picture of Victorian England as a society obsessed with hard work and moral probity is a common one, encapsulated by the concept of “Victorian Values.” In reality, Victorian England was above all an era of contrasts, where polite society primness sat alongside sordid back street squalor, and imperial grandeur co-existed with criminalization of the poor. This course will explore these contrasts at all levels, from the changing politics of class, crime, empire, and gender to the cultural commentaries of Dickens, Kipling, Eliot, Holman Hunt, and Wilde. The course ends with an exploration of the greatest cultural icon of the era, Queen Victoria herself, asking what it really meant to be a Victorian for those living through the era.

Field TripTake a tour of historic Bristol, which saw great expansion during the Victorian era. See Brunel’s SS Great Britain, once the longest passenger ship in the world and technologically ahead of its time.

Day 8 — Oxford

After breakfast continue to London and transfer to Heathrow Airport for individual flights back to the U.S. or join the optional extension to London. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)