His Dark Materials
Trace the steps of Lyra Belacqua through the galleries of the Pitt Rivers Museum in this opportunity to see items featured in the BBC HBO production of the television series His Dark Materials within the famous displays.
You can find props from the filming, on loan from production company Bad Wolf, at five locations on the three floors of the Museum: three on the ground floors, and one on the first and second floors.
To coincide with the release of BBC’s final series of His Dark Materials this winter, fans will be able to trace Lyra’s steps around the city that inspired its author, Philip Pullman, with free displays of props and costumes at the Pitt Rivers Museum, the History of Science Museum and The Story Museum.
The displays will run from 12 December 2022 through to 31 December 2023.
We invite you to download our trail and to explore the additional webpages linked to individual objects below, to help you spot the film props alongside some museum collections on display. The location of the props reflects the Museum's arrangement of objects by type as well proximity to some of the Arctic collections cared for by the Museum, that were one of the key inspirations for Oxford author Philip Pullman, who created the multiple worlds encountered in His Dark Materials.
This display of props has been brought to you with the generous support of Bad Wolf and the BBC HBO adaption of His Dark Materials.
His Dark Materials comprises three critically acclaimed novels – Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass – which have since been adapted for television to award-winning success. The trilogy follows Lyra Belacqua, an orphan brought up in Oxford, who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined.
An amber spyglass is on display at the Pitt Rivers Museum amongst many other props and costumes on loan from production company, Bad Wolf. Further items to discover across Oxford include a golden compass-like alethiometer at the History of Science Museum and an immersive experience featuring the subtle knife alongside filming props at The Story Museum.
The temporary displays at these three sites invite visitors to Oxford to trace in the footsteps of the film crew as well as encounter places and collections that inspired Philip Pullman's reimagining of the city in his famous literary works.
The BBC / HBO series His Dark Materials
In a parallel world ruled by the sinister Magisterium, a battle rages over a mysterious particle called Dust. Can orphan Lyra stop the fight from spilling over into our time?
Series 1 and 2 are available on BBC iPlayer with the final series 3 launching this December.
Bad Wolf is a British television production company founded by Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter in 2015, with its headquarters in Cardiff, Wales. The company is responsible for the television series His Dark Materials (HBO/BBC), A Discovery Of Witches (Sky / AMC Networks), Industry (HBO / BBC) and I Hate Suzie (Sky / HBO Max) have all gone on to achieve global recognition and win multiple awards at the BAFTA, BAFTA Cymru, RTS, Emmy and Golden Globe Awards.
His Dark Materials is an award-winning trilogy of fantasy novels by Oxford author Philip Pullman consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. It follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes. Considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, it has sold over 18 million copies worldwide. The Amber Spyglass is the first children’s novel to win the prestigious Whitbread Book of the Year (in 2001) and the first children’s novel to be long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.
Don't forget to continue your your adventure into Pullman's literary creations and visit two other sites in Oxford to see further items to the ones on display at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Download the Oxford leaflet with more information about the other two venues and location map.
Visit the History of Science Museum on Broad Street and step into Lyra’s study in Jordan College. Under a canopy of stars and Dust, you can explore the fictional worlds of Lyra and her alethiometer alongside the Museum's devices and dials which inspired Philip Pullman.
As well as props from the BBC HBO production, you will find iconic costumes worn by Lyra Silvertongue, Will Parry, Mrs Coulter, Lord Asriel, Billy Costa, Roger Parslow, Dr Mary Malone and the Master of Jordan College.
History of Science Museum opening times: Tuesday to Sunday 12–5pm.
Please check the History of Science Museum's own website for full access details and updates on opening times when planning your visit.
The Story Museum on Pembroke Street, invites you to discover the subtle knife, the green writing case and airmail letters written by John Parry to his wife, and the witch Serafina Pekkala’s dress. These will appear alongside existing Story Museum exhibits including Pullman’s very own alethiometer, which he had specially commissioned in 2005, as well as an immersive experience for those who want to relive the scene in which Will Parry is first presented with the knife in the Torre degli Angeli.
The Story Museum Opening times: Wednesday to Friday 9.30am–4.30pm, Saturday to Sunday 9.30am–5.30pm.
Please check The Story Museum's own website for full access details and updates on opening times when planning your visit.
All three sites are within a 20min walking distance from each other and near the city centre of Oxford and public transport links via train, and bus.
If you are planning to visit all three sites in one day, do check individual opening times for each museum as they vary, especially regular opening hours on Mondays and Tuesdays.