Photograph Collections

haida researchers consulting photograph collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum
Haida researchers consulting photograph collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum. September 2009.

The Pitt Rivers Museum has collected photographs ever since its foundation. Particularly strong in nineteenth­ and early twentieth-century photography, the collection also contains important fieldwork archives, such as that of anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard, as well as the photographs of travellers such as Wilfred Thesiger, whose collection alone numbers some 38,000 images. The Museum continues to collect photography, with a particular emphasis upon well-documented field collections and contemporary practice.

The department curates two temporary exhibition spaces within the Museum – the Long Gallery on the ground floor (mostly contemporary photography), and an archive display case at the entrance to the Lower Gallery for small exhibitions of historical material.


Image ordering / licensing

Regional Overview| Past Exhibitions| Thesiger Collection | Centre for Anthropology and Photography

photocollsonlinethumb.jpgOnline catalogue


Read the latest posts on photograph and manuscript collections blog using the links below (clicking on a link will open the blog post in a new window). You can also visit the photograph and manuscript collections blog to see more posts and explore the archive.


Bringing it all back home: the visual repatriation of historical photograph collections from the Pitt Rivers Museum to the Turkana of Northern Kenya

by Samuel DerbyshirePost-Doctoral Research FellowBritish Institute in Eastern AfricaFig 1: A photograph of two young Turkana women taken by... Read more...

"Greetings from Jamaica": Cataloguing the Dent collection of postcards

An idyllic scene: '"Greetings from Jamaica." On the Road to Port Antonio.'Postcard published by A. Duperly & Son, Kingston, Jamaica. [PRM... Read more...

'My island in the sun': Malakula and the Raymond Clausen collection

The Pitt Rivers Museum's Raymond Clausen collection consists of more than two thousand photographs taken during fieldwork in mainland Malakula, Vanuatu, and its surrounding islands. The collection also comprises numerous sound recordings as well as correspondence, notebooks, published articles,... Read more...

'Anointing the Reth': Photographs of the Shilluk by André Singer

I've so much enjoyed digitising and documenting André Singer's 1975 slide images of the Shilluk people. They were taken when he was researcher/anthropologist on the fascinating Granada TV 'Disappearing World' film The Shilluk, which was broadcast in 1976. The images will soon go online as an... Read more...

Behind the scenes at the museum: A placement at the Pitt Rivers Museum

As part of my PhD programme in Visual Arts and Culture at the University of Durham, I completed a placement at the Pitt Rivers Museum from January to April 2017. My internship focused on working with the Museum's photograph, film and sound collections. Over three months, my tasks involved... Read more...