Support the Department of Asia

The Department of Asia covers the material and visual cultures of Asia – a vast geographical area embracing East, South and Southeast Asia, parts of Central Asia, and extending to Siberia. The collection spans the Neolithic, from about 5000 BC, to the present day.

Represented societies and groups range from complex urban civilisations to largely rural communities. They also include the distinctive cultures and ways of life of indigenous people and other minority groups. Contemporary art and artefacts, in addition to strategic acquisitions of important historic works, fit in exciting ways into the Department’s active collecting programme.

Fundraising priorities

Project staff

With our extensive collections, library, and archive, there are many key projects we would like to undertake, pending funding.

Given the size and breadth of the Department of Asia’s collections, expanded curatorial expertise is a priority. Project curators will make additional holdings available through the online collection database, via cataloguing, archival investigations, research and photography. They will also assist with exhibition planning and carry out bespoke research.

The Department of Asia library is an important resource. It began in the 19th century, and the records need to be brought up to date. Cataloguers will ensure the contents of the library are accessible.

New acquisitions

Continuing growth is essential to ensure that the collection remains representative as new developments unfold. The Department is looking for funding to enhance its collections, building on existing strengths, as well as branching out in innovative directions.

Exhibition and publication subsidies

Curators are continually researching the collection and generating exhibitions and new publications. Due to rising costs, the Department is looking for funds to support more creative exhibition development and presentation, including beautifully illustrated published catalogues.

Storage upgrades

Collections care is a main focus for the Museum. The Department is seeking funds to upgrade some of its collections storage spaces with state-of-the-art cabinets.

How you can help

The Museum aims to make its Asian collections as widely available as possible, to deepen and expand its research, and to continue to expand this extraordinary resource. Your support will help us to achieve our goals.

  • £42,000 will enable the Department to hire a full-time project curator for one year to specialise in one of the Department’s major geographical areas.
  • £25,000 will allow improvements in a storage area, including new, state-of-the-art cabinets for objects requiring special storage conditions, including lacquer and works on paper.
  • £15,000 will enable the Department to hire a part-time librarian for one year to focus on cataloguing a language group or geographical region – e.g. China, Japan, Korea or South Asia.
  • £2,500 or more will allow the Asian Acquisition Fund to grow so it can purchase important field collections, new discoveries and works of art.
  • £2,000 or more for the Asian Exhibition and Publication Fund will help underwrite Department publications and temporary exhibitions focusing on the permanent collection.

If you wish to support us in our aims, please contact the Development Department +44 (0)20 7323 8421 or