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.


Researching photographs in Nigeria magazine

An Igbo dancer at Okitipupa, Ondo Province. Photo by E. Duckworth. Published in Nigeria in 1949 Number 32 page 34. © Pitt Rivers Museum,... Read more...

Repatriating knowledge to the Ika community of Colombia

Ana María Marín MoralesMSc Visual, Material and Museum AnthropologyUniversity of Oxford Donald Tayler and Brian Moser's Anglo-Colombian Expedition (1960-61) started with a newspaper advertisement. They wanted to record the music of some indigenous tribes of Colombia. In the advert they asked for... Read more...

From traveller's trunk to museum archive: an internship in the photo collections

Chimwemwe Phiri (MSc student in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology, University of Oxford)31 August 2018I have just completed a five-week internship with the Photograph and Manuscript Collections department of the Pitt Rivers Museum. I was excited to have been selected for the curatorial... Read more...

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...