The official deed of the sale of Montagu House

Library and Archive

Contact us

Library and Archive opening hours

Monday–Wednesday: 10.00–17.00
Thursday: 13.00–17.00
Friday: 10.00–17.00

To request material for your visit, please write in advance to:

Phone: +44 (0)20 7323 8031

Phone: +44 (0)20 7323 8224


The British Museum Library collection includes more than 300,000 volumes dedicated to excellence in the research of human cultures – past and present – across the globe. The collection is in the nine study spaces of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, Asia, Britain, Europe and Prehistory including Horology, Coins and Medals, Egypt and Sudan, Greece and Rome, Middle East, Prints and Drawings, and Conservation and Scientific Research.

Before you visit:

  • Search the Library Catalogue, then send a list of materials you wish to consult providing author, title, call number and location details to
  • Please allow two weeks for staff to check your list, provide research advice and confirmation of a consultation location and date.
  • If your research is focused on materials concentrated in study spaces other than the Anthropology Library and Research Centre (ALRC), staff will make the appropriate appointment and provide directions to the consultation space. One month's appointment notice is required for these study spaces.

Accessing the library collection:

  • Upon arriving at the consultation space complete a library membership form and present photo identification, for example a passport or driving license. Food and drink are prohibited in the study spaces.

The main library reception is in the Anthropology Library and Research Centre (ALRC). The ALRC is the study space for Africa, Oceania and the Americas and holds some of the Library collection. This part of the collection is accessible to walk-in visitors upon registration. The ALRC is located on the ground floor just inside the north entrance.


The British Museum Archive is a unique record of the Museum's activities since it was founded in 1753. It preserves the story of the Museum, the history of the collection, its collectors and the people who worked here. The Archive is a resource for researchers, academics and members of the public. The Archive is an essential element in supporting the ongoing research aims of the Museum and the wider research community.