Donors and collectors

Meet some of the generous benefactors and dedicated collectors who built the Museum's vast collections.

The Museum Archives contains correspondence from donors and collectors, including tales of their daring exploits to obtain material from all over the world.


Evelyn Cheesman.
Evelyn Cheesman

Find out about the remarkable woman who supplied over 70,000 specimens to the collections of the Natural History Museum, after her expeditions to New Guinea.

Walter Rothschild
Walter Rothschild

Born into an international financial dynasty, Walter was destined to be famed as a zoologist and collector rather than a banker.

A statue of Charles Darwin at the Natural History Museum
Natural history pioneers

Learn about the life and work of revolutionary scientists, explorers and artists who have opened our eyes to the natural world.

A diver collecting nematode worms
Expeditions and collecting

Read about the early voyages of discovery and find out why the Museum's collections are so vital to our knowledge of the past, present and future.

Museum telephonist, 1933.
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Chimpanzee skeleton, 1907.
Museum Archives catalogue

Browse or search online for Archive materials.