Gilbert White's and the Oates Collections

Gilbert White's and the Oates Collections

At a glance


  • Arts
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Gardens and parks
  • Museums / heritage

Other details

Geographical remit: 


Gilbert White’s and the Oates Collections is a go-ahead and innovative independent museum in Selborne, north east Hampshire.  We were founded by a member of the Oates family to  commemorate the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, and Captain Lawrence Oates, the polar explorer, and Frank Oates, who explored in Southern Africa and central America in the late nineteenth century.    We offer exhibitions on all three men, and in addition White’s garden, restored to its 18th century designs, and a Field Studies Centre visited by 4000 school children a year.   Current visitor numbers are 22,000 and these are expected to grow considerably over the next few years.  With the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund we will shortly start the delivery of a £3m project to improve the museum’s facilities and interpretation, and to promote resilience and sustainability for the foreseeable future.    We have excellent staff and a committed, specialist and energetic group of trustees.   


We open to the public most of the year, and over 4000 school children visit our Field Studies Centre annually.   We run events including an Unusual Plant Fair, Gilbert's Games and a summer play, and Mulled Wine weekend in the winter.     We have exhibitions on Gilbert White, Captain Oates and Frank Oates, all located in a Grade 1 listed building, with a shop and an award-winning tea parlour.    We have a substantial collection of artefacts and books and volunteers help with our catalogue and collections care.  We have a 30 acre estate, and 5 acres of garden restored to Gilbert White's original designs and volunteers are essential to the care and development of the garden and in our volunteer biodiversity group.   Other volunteers act as room stewards, as events stewards and in a number of administrative ways, according to their skills and inclinations.  We try hard not to  be prescriptive in how our volunteers can help us, but seek to offer tasks to suit them and the amount of time they wish to commit.         

No current opportunities

Search for volunteer opportunities with other organisations.