About the Archives



The Museum Archives relate to the work of every department in the Museum. They complement the collections of specimens, Library and Special Collections material and are a rich resource for anyone wanting to learn about the development and activities of the Museum, our buildings, staff, collections and the study of natural history. The bulk of the collection consists of typed and handwritten papers, and also includes born-digital material, photographs, architectural plans, objects and oral history recordings. There is no restriction on the type of media included. The earliest material dates from 1739, but most of the collection dates from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.

The Archives collect records which document:

  • Management and administration of the Museum and departments
  • Policy and strategy development and implementation
  • External relations
  • Collections management
  • Scientific research and expeditions
  • Public engagement (e.g. exhibition development, learning activities)
  • Resource management (e.g. finance, personnel, estates)
  • Museum publications (e.g. final pre-publication content, publicity material, internal publications).

The Museum Archives (reference DF) are arranged as follows:

DF MIN - Department of Mineralogy (references DF1 to DF99)
DF PAL - Department of Palaeontology (references DF100 to DF199)
DF ZOO - Department of Zoology (references DF200 to DF299)
DF ENT - Department of Entomology (references DF300 to DF399)
DF BOT - Department of Botany (references DF400 to DF499)
DF PUB - Museum Publications (references DF500 to DF599)
DF LIB - Library and Information Services (references DF600 to DF699)
DF EXH - Exhibitions, Education and Events (references DF700 to DF799)
DF TRU - The Trustees (references DF900 to DF929)
DF DIR - Directorate (references DF930 to DF999)
DF ADM - Central Administration (references DF1000 to DF1099)
DF WAR - Wartime Records (references DF1200 to DF1299)
DF TRI - Tring Museum (references DF3000 to DF3099)
DF BDG - Building Records and Plans
DF SSC - Natural History Museum Social Clubs

Other collections related to the Museum held by Museum Archives include:

GM – Geological Museum
OB - Collection of Museum historical objects and memorabilia
PH - Photograph Collection
TR and TM – Tring Museum and Walter Rothschild Correspondence
RS – Ray Society
SH – Society for the History of Natural History

Special Collections which can also be found on the archives catalogue:

AL – Anti-Locust Research Centre Archive
WP – Alfred Russel Wallace Family Papers

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