Brief history: in 1965 the architect Trevor Green, with the aid of an advisory board which included Henry Moore, Bernard Cohen, Lord Esher, and David Hockney, created the space for the display of contemporary art. It didn't have a fund for a permanent exhibition, so it began with borrowed works on long-term loan from the founding members themselves. In 1966 the museum received its first Arts Council grant of pounds 1,000. Under the directorship of Peter Ibsen (1970-73) and Nicholas Serota (1973-76), Moma became a leading alternative space (in the tradition of a German Kunsthalle) in which to see avant-garde art from Britain and abroad. Under the award-winning directorship of David Elliott (1976-1996), the museum widened to an international scope, bringing shows of work from the USSR, China, Africa and Japan to Britain. In 1997 Kerry Brougher took over as director of the museum.
The building: originally built as a brewery in the 1890s, it now stands in the shadow of Sainsbury's. Stunning spectacle it ain't: the exterior is plain and box-like, but the interior, with its white walls and blond- wood floors, has a certain minimalist attraction.
Uses: as the only so-entitled Moma in Britain (until, that is, Bankside opens its large doors), the gallery's exhibition programme covers 20th- century painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, architecture, design and performance from all over the world.
Landmark event: first British shows by Carl Andre and Joseph Beuys. Yoko Ono's show earlier this year.
Current event: Mona Hatoum's sculptures, installations, videos, drawings and photographs. Today to 28 June. Admission: pounds 2.50/pounds 1.50. Tues- Sun 11am-6pm, Thurs 11am-9pm. Enquiries on 01865 722733.
Where to meet: there's a cafe in the Lower Gallery.
Cost of a glass of wine: pounds 1.75.
Getting there: five minute walk from Oxford train station. Sylvie BuschmannReuse content