Our extensive photograph collection traces the history and operation of the Museum since it opened in 1881.  

Any person permitted to take photographs inside the Museum between 1890-1930 was required to send copies of their pictures to the Museum Archives. 

A selection of photos have been brought together and published in Museum Through a Lens, a fascinating book available from the Natural History Museum Shop.

Find images online

A small percentage of photos have been scanned and are available from the Picture Library. Other images can be digitalised or copied on request. 

All records with the reference 'PH' in our Museum Archive catalogue are photographs.You can search for photos by typing ph* into the FindingNo field.

Museum Archives catalogue

Staff on the front steps of the Museum, 1884.

Staff on the front steps of the Museum, 1884.

Museum telephonist, 1933.
Contact the Museum Archives

Request information about the Museum Archive materials.

Follow us on Twitter @nhm_library
Museum Through a Lens
Museum Through a Lens

A collection of stunning black and white photographs from the Museum Archives.

Chimpanzee skeleton, 1907.
Museum Archives catalogue

Browse or search online for Archive materials.

Lodran meteorite microscope image
Picture Library

Search over 50,000 images online.