On Dragons and Dinosaurs

On the 1st January 1938, J.R.R. Tolkien gave his thoughts on dragonlore and dinosaurs in an illustrated lecture at the Museum not discussed anywhere else in his works.


Join our expert panel for this once-in-a-lifetime re-run of Tolkien's lecture featuring his original slides, supporting specimens, and documents. The talk will be followed by a panel discussion featuring authors, palaeontologists, and experts on medieval and modern literature.

Entry to this event is free.


Travel Disruptions: 13 December

Please note that national rail strikes are planned for 13 December. To find out whether your journey will be affected, please visit National Rail Enquiries - Industrial Action. In the unfortunate event that you have booked tickets for the event, but are no longer able to attend, we politely request that you cancel your order on eventbrite to free up a ticket for someone on the waiting list. Thank you!


About the panellists:

Sir Philip Pullman, named by The Times newspaper as one of the greatest British writers since 1945, is the award-winning author of many books including the ‘His Dark Materials’ series whose work has been adapted for film, TV and theatre. Philip passionately believes in the democracy of reading and that the meaning of a story emerges in the meeting between the words on the page and the thoughts in the reader's mind.

John Holmes is Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture and Deputy Director of the Institute for STEMM in Culture and Society at the University of Birmingham (ISTEMMiCS). He is an honorary associate of OUMNH and co-founder of the Symbiosis network for exploring and developing the role of the arts in natural history collections. He has worked extensively with the Museum on projects including Visions of Nature, Ruskin 200 and Truth to Nature. His most recent book is Temple of Science: The Pre-Raphaelites and Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Bodleian Library, 2020).

Will Tattersdill is Senior Lecturer in Popular Literature, Liberal Arts, and Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham and the convenor of the Literature and Science Laboratory. He is the author of Science, fiction, and the Fin de Siècle periodical press (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and is currently working on a cultural history of dinosaurs in popular literature, art and science.

Humma Mouzam is a PhD student in Medieval Literature at the University of Birmingham researching the connections between Arthurian dragons, astronomy, and crusading and apocalyptic literatures.

Thomas Halliday is the author of ‘Otherlands; a journey through Earth’s extinct worlds’. Thomas is also a palaeobiologist, specialising in mammal evolution and phylogenetics (the science of working out how organisms are related).He has been a researcher at the University of Bristol and at University College London, and is a postdoctoral researcher at University College London and the University of Birmingham.

Elsa Panciroli is the author of ‘Beasts Before Us’ and ‘The Earth: A Biography of Life’. Elsa is a Research Fellow at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and Associate Researcher at National Museums Scotland, whose work investigates the anatomy and evolution of extinct animals, and what this tells us about their life-history and ecology.

Accessibility information:

Wheelchair accessible?


Hearing loops?






Flashing lights?


Loud noises?


For more information, please visit our accessibility webpage, or contact Chris Jarvis (chris.jarvis@oum.ox.ac.uk).