Treasures of the Archive

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The Behind the Scenes Tours are now in full swing. Hosted here at the Museum on Tuesday afternoons, from 3-5 pm, they offer a unique look at what our collections staff get up to in their day-to-day work, as well as a rare opportunity to see items from our specimen and archive collections that are not normally on exhibit.

The first Treasures of the Archive tour took place last week and offered a beautiful display of some of the oldest and most important items in the archive collection. It included, among others, the original 18th century manuscript known as the Jones’ Icones, which features hundreds of exquisitely detailed butterfly paintings, a letter from Charles Darwin mentioning of his voyage on the Beagle, and William Smith’s personal copies of his Geological County Maps.

There will be two more opportunities to join this great tour, on 2 April and 21 May 2013; but with tours being offered by every department there are sure to be many more that will catch your fancy. There are even tea and biscuits at the end!

Tours can be booked through the University Online Shop and are only £5 per person. Coming up in the next few weeks, we have the first of the Entomology Highlights Tours, behind the scenes in Zoology, and a special themed tour centred around female fossil hunters Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot – all sure to be a great afternoon out. To see a complete listing visit our website.

If you have a group that is interested in any of our Behind the Scenes Tours, but you cannot make the advertised times, please contact to discuss options for private tours.

Kate Santry, Head of Archival Collections

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