About the Library and Archives

The Library and Archives are part of the Museum’s Print and Digital Collections


The Museum of Natural History has held an impressive and important library collection since it opened in 1860. It was the original home of the Radcliffe Science Library, which is now located next door. It has also held the large entomological and antiquarian natural history book and manuscript collections of University benefactor Frederick William Hope since its founding.

The Museum also received a large donation of books, manuscripts and reprints from W J Arkell, which founded the Arkell Library Collections, which focus on Jurassic palaeontology and geology. 
Since 2013, the library and archive collections have been managed as a single unit in order to better manage access, storage and conservation.

What we do

The Museum Library and Archives is a small departmental service that offers research services to museum staff, university researchers, students, external researchers and those with an interest in natural history or our collections.
We are open to the public, weekdays from 10am to 5pm.

While we aim to facilitate all requests for information about our collections, we do not have the capacity to conduct research on your behalf. Most specific enquiries related to the content of items in our collections will require a visit or reproduction request.
Tours for special interest groups can be arranged. In most cases, we need at least two weeks’ notice and can take groups no larger than 15 individuals. We are happy to discuss specific themed tours to meet the needs of your group.


Most policies relating to the library and archive collections are included in our general collections policies here. Please see our related documents: