Frequently Asked Questions


I’m not sure how I find what I am looking for, what do I do?


How do I view the material?

  • The Archives are open to anyone to view by appointment. For more information about how to make an appointment and visitor services see our web page


Are the records available to view online?

  • At present the archives cannot be viewed online, however we hope to start adding images of digitised material in the near future.


Can I get a copy of the archives?

  • To find out more about the Library and Archives digitisation service visit our web page


The catalogue does not appear to be working

  • Please contact us and let us know, and we will look in to any problems as soon as possible.


Can I deposit material with the Archives?

  • While the bulk of material acquired by the Archives will come from within the Museum, opportunities will be taken to acquire material from external sources which sheds light on the history of the Natural History Museum, the Geological Museum and the Natural History Museum at Tring. Examples of material donated by the public include records about:

    ·         Museum collections (documentation created/authored by Museum staff)

    ·         Museum buildings

    ·         Exhibitions and other public engagement activities

    ·         Scientific research and expeditions sponsored by the NHM

    ·         Former members of staff

    ·         Museum publications and artwork

    Examples of what is not collected:

    ·         Archives of other organisations or societies

    ·         Papers of ‘unofficial’ staff e.g. scientific associates (unless they were previously members of staff) and volunteers

    ·         Personal papers of staff without any reference to their Museum work

    ·         Published material (other than exceptional cases e.g. small annotated amounts within a larger collection of archival material)

    ·         Documentation accompanying collections acquired by the Museum (this can be found in the Library and Archives Special Collections)

    Other than in exceptional circumstances, all material deposited with the Archives will be treated as a donation as there is no dedicated budget for purchases. Loans are not accepted.

    All material offered to the Archives is rigorously appraised to assess the value of the information it contains and its relation to material already held in the collection. The final decision on acceptance rests with the Museum Archivist. Once accessioned into the Archives, records will be preserved permanently and catalogued as soon as possible.

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