Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas


Anthropology Library and Research Centre 
+44 (0)20 7323 8031

Research facilities

Anthropology Library and Research Centre

The Anthropology Library and Research Centre is located inside the Montague Street entrance to the Museum. It is one of the world’s major specialist anthropology libraries, offering access to extensive information around ethnographic collections and object identification service.

About the Anthropology Library

Formed by the amalgamation of the Museum’s Ethnography library and the library of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Museum's Anthropology Library now contains over 130,000 volumes and resources covering all aspects of anthropology with particular strength in material culture. Existing materials cover the whole world and continue to grow through the collection of global materials.

The Library is renowned for its extensive journal collection of over 1,500 current periodical subscriptions, forming a part of over 4,000 total titles held. Journal holdings further form the basis of the Anthropological Index Online produced by the Royal Anthropological Institute. A close relationship with the Institute continues to help grow the collection through an extensive network of journal exchange agreements.  

The library’s collection of rare books dates to the 16th century and is a combination of rare books from the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Museum's former Ethnography Library. A significant proportion of these volumes were also sourced from Henry Christy, a Victorian industrialist who donated his library to the Museum in 1865. Christy’s library focused greatly on travel, especially the European exploration and settlement of countries in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and Oceania in the 18th and 19th centuries.


The library’s catalogue is available online and also via COPAC.

Digital Resources

The library subscribes to a wide variety of research resources and journals, available to all readers onsite the Museum.


There are over 25 study places with Wifi and power outlets available throughout the library.

A multifunctional photocopier is available for scanning and sending documents, as well as copying at a cost of 10p per A4 or A3 page. Please check with staff before photocopying oversize or pre-1914 material. Flash-free photography of Library collections material is welcome for private or for research use.


Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am-5pm; Thursdays from 12-5pm.
Closed on weekends and public holidays. Check the Catalogue for up-to-date closure information.


The library is open to the public for reference and research. Photographic ID will be required on all visits and is required for Reader Registration in order to use the Library.

Fellows of the Royal Anthropological Institute are eligible to borrow books and access digital research resources once they have registered as a Reader in the Anthropology Library.