Requests for access to human remains in the collection that are the subject of a claim for transfer cannot be granted while the outcome of the claim is pending.
All applications are assessed on the following criteria:
The scholarly merit of the proposal
The feasibility of the project
The appropriateness of the proposed scientific techniques/methods to answer the questions posed
Experience and expertise of the research team in applying these techniques/methods
Previous work undertaken on similar material
The fragility of the material in question
Sample sizes required in relation to the size and rarity/uniqueness of the object
Other immediate or long-term impact on the object(s), including risks associated with exposure of object(s) to ionising or non-ionising radiation
Experience of the research team in working with Museum material
Anticipated outputs of the research (publications, and so on.)
Health and safety implications
Applicants are expected to indicate thorough knowledge of previous work undertaken (citing appropriate references).
The potential of novel techniques should have been demonstrated on model material in advance of their application to museum samples.
Further information may be requested, and this will also be subject to review.
Please submit your application as far in advance of the deadline as possible, as access at short notice can't be guaranteed.
Applicants are encouraged to make an honest assessment of the likelihood of success/risk of failure of the project.
Small-scale pilot studies on collection material prior to a full-scale study may be suggested in certain cases.
We may ask applicants to collaborate on work when we receive two or more requests for the same area.
We may also suggest collaboration with British Museum scientists, particularly where the Museum has a research interest in the area or if the material concerned is very fragile.
For requests relating to materials of human origin, applicants may wish to consult the following guidance documents from the APABE (Advisory Panel on the Archaeology of Burials in England) and DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport):
We recommend you discuss your request with the relevant curator before submitting an application.
The review panel meets to assess requests four times a year and applications should be submitted by the deadlines indicated.
Applicants will be notified of a decision within one month of the review panel meeting.
28 March 2022 (for Review Panel Meeting on 25 April 2022)
27 June 2022 (for Review Panel Meeting on 25 July 2022)
19 September 2022 (for Review Panel Meeting on 17 October 2022)
If permission is granted, the following conditions will apply:
All analytical data and results must be made available, in confidence and prior to publication, to the appropriate department of the British Museum.
The Museum shall be allowed to make these data publicly available five years after they're received, whether or not they've been published elsewhere.
All residual samples remain the property of the British Museum (all mounted and residual samples shall be returned to the British Museum within one year unless otherwise agreed).
Samples may only be used for the purpose(s) outlined in the application (any other purpose must be the subject of a further application).
Two copies of any publications arising from the work must be provided.
Any agreed costs of sampling by British Museum staff shall be paid by the applicant
Previous conduct in respect of these conditions will be taken into account when reviewing subsequent applications.
The British Museum may also consult with other institutions when assessing applications, particularly if samples have been requested from several collections.
We are currently undertaking a major object move project to vacate our collection store at Blythe House, Olympia, which is scheduled to be completed by summer 2024. From January 2020 to the end of the project, we will not be able to lend collection material located at Blythe House. If you have any queries about this or wish to know whether the objects you wish to request are affected, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.