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 Museum's rich history and unique research holdings are accessible to the public through its Library service. The British Museum Library collections are made up of more than 300,000 volumes. Together they reflect the historic strengths of the Museum's diverse curatorial departments, which are dedicated to excellence in the research of human cultures – past and present – across the globe.

  • The Library is open to the public but you must register before you visit by emailing
  • If you're registering to visit us for the first time, please email your request at least two weeks in advance to ensure we can accommodate you.
  • Appointments may be made in person at the Library’s Enquiry Desk, by email, or by phone. 
  • To ensure the safety of all visitors and staff, there are a limited number of spaces per session. Please register your appointment in advance to avoid disappointment.
  • You can search the Library Catalogue in advance of your visit.
  • To reserve materials from the Library Catalogue before your visit, please email


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.