2016 - 2018
The Pitt Rivers Museum is home to more than 300,000 ethnographic and archaeological objects from around the world.
The Museum is known for its dense displays and has more than 30,000 objects on display in the galleries. However, the vast majority of the collection is stored at several off-site facilities.
Over the next two years, the collections housed at the largest of these facilities will be moving to a new location in Oxford closer to the Museum. This will involve packing and transporting more than 100,000 objects, ranging from beads, baskets, and barkcloth to shields, stools, and spears. This is a daunting prospect but also a wonderful opportunity to improve access to the collections. Each object will be photographed and enhancements made to its documentation. This will facilitate future object retrieval for research, exhibitions, loans, conservation and teaching, and will enable the Museum to provide researchers with improved information about the objects in its collections.
This is the biggest project that any member of the Museum’s staff has ever worked on. The stores house some of the Museum’s most valued and fragile objects. Work has already started on this ambitious project, which will present some difficult challenges but will also uncover many amazing finds. A team of highly skilled and dedicated museum professionals has been employed, aided by members of existing staff from all departments of the Museum.
These ‘hidden’ collections will be available to the Museum’s visitors and source communities around the world both digitally, via the online database (https://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/objects), and physically through the Museum’s visiting researchers program.