The Balfour Library


The Balfour Library was founded in its present form in 1939 when Henry Balfour, first Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum, gave his fine library to the Museum. To this was added volumes which the Museum had collected as a working library since its foundation in 1884. The Library has a dual function, as the teaching and research library of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and as the research library of the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Opening Hours

Term-time Monday to Friday 09:00 - 17:00 (last admission 16:30)

Vacation Monday to Friday 09:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 16:00

Closed August and around 10 days at Christmas and Easter; restricted hours on May Bank Holidays. Please contact librarian or see library information at for exact dates.

The Balfour library can be accessed from the South Entrance of the Museum - Robinson Close.
Location 29 on the Libraries in Oxford map (PDF)

Admission and Borrowing Policy

The following Oxford University members have borrowing rights: Academic staff, undsamuraiergraduate and postgraduate students of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and School of Archaeology; Human Sciences undergraduates. Other current University members may be given borrowing rights, and external readers admitted for reference only use, at the discretion of the Librarian.

Holdings and Services

The library holds about 20,000 books 12,000 pamphlets (not for loan) and 300 journal titles (not for loan), of which about 150 are current, on the subject of Archaeology and Anthropology, especially material on Culture including Art and Traditional Music.

Services: Photocopier, microfiche, access to OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information Services), to which it contributes bibliographic records, available on Ethernet. Please note we are unable to offer inter-library loans or copying at this time.

Contacting the Library

Address: Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PP
Telephone: +44 1865 2-70939 Facsimile: +44 1865 2-70943
Internet email:
Librarian: Mark Dickerson.

Search the Catalogue

SOLO, Oxford University's online library catalogue, lists around 60% of the Balfour titles. The Balfour Library holdings have a BAL sublocation.