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.


Emil Holub's 1892 South African Exposition in Prague

Emil Holub’s South African Exposition, Prague 1892Holub exhibition poster at Pitt Rivers MuseumDuring my research this year on... Read more...


Last autumn the Photograph and Manuscript Collections department ran a series of three curatorial-led workshops, titled PRINT PROJECT COLLECT, on the wide variety of collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum, exploring how the Museum cares for them and what we can learn from photographs through their... Read more...

The Larim (Boya) of South Sudan (part 7)

This post is the seventh instalment of a series by Research Associate Patti Langton on the history and culture of the Larim (Boya) of South Sudan based on her fieldwork in 1979–80, illustrated with images from her field collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum.The Larim Year... Read more...

'Passionate researcher, hard-boiled traveller': Beatrice Blackwood in Acoma, New Mexico

Last summer the Photograph and Manuscript Collections department welcomed six volunteers to assist with sorting, digitising and rehousing a wide range of collections material. Here, one of those volunteers, Alex Walmsley, reflects on some of the work undertaken during his placement:During... Read more...

Cataloguing contemporary postcards

 Postcard featuring stereotypical images of Maasai People©Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford [2014.66.587.14]In June and July 2014 I undertook a project to... Read more...