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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Museum libraries and archives

The Museum collection is available to researchers of all different levels through its galleries, libraries and study rooms, as well as online.

Libraries catalogue online

Catalogues for all of the Museum's libraries can be searched online – please note not all Museum libraries have their entire collection recorded in the online catalogue.

Search the catalogue now 

Libraries and study rooms

Libraries and study rooms

Each of the Museum's curatorial and research departments has public facilities including study rooms and, in most cases, a library.

These can all be accessed for research enquiries by appointment only, apart from the Anthropology Library and Research Centre which is open every week day 10.00–17.00 (12.00–17.00 Thursdays).

Contact the relevant department, for more information:

The Paul Hamlyn Library is now closed. Family backpacks and trails are available at weekends and during school holidays from the Great Court.

More information about the closure 


Museum archive

The Museum's Archive contains administrative records of the Museum dating back to its foundation in 1753, including minutes of meetings of the Museum’s Trustees, acquisitions reports and administration, policy and financial records.

The Central Archive holds limited information on the Museum’s collection: these records are generally held by the Museum’s curatorial departments (with some exceptions). For archival enquiries about Museum objects you should therefore contact the relevant department.

Archive material held by the British Museum Department of Manuscripts (usually with references beginning ‘Add’) and some other Museum records (before 1973) are now held by the British Library. Central Government records concerning the administration of the Museum, including various records of the Museum building, are held by the National Archives.

Access to the Archive is by appointment only.

For more information, contact:
+44 (0)20 7323 8224