Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

29 Mar 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

One of the most diverse museums in the UK, the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is one like no other, housing a variety of exhibitions showcasing history from every corner of the globe.

Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology history

The museum was founded in 1884 using local artefacts gathered by the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, as well as a number Polynesian items collected by Alfred Maudslay and Sir Arthur Gordon.

Over the years, interest in anthropology and archaeology began to increase, with its study becoming more widespread and archaeology more accessible. Thus, more and more items began to be brought back to Cambridge, helping to further expand the collection.

An expedition to the Torres Strait in Australia made by Alfred Haddon and W. H. R Rivers in 1898 brought back a large quantity of materials, with their anthropology students also encouraged to collect for the museum during their ethnographic fieldwork.

Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology today

Unsurprisingly, today the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology remains a hub of archaeological and anthropological research. It is fully open to the public, as well as scholars, students and those with an interest in the history of humankind.

There are a number of fascinating collections to see within the museum, which houses more than 800,000 objects, 100,000 field photographs and 30,000 historical documentary archives. It also holds a large Pacific collection holding over 30,000 artefacts, including some from James Cook’s 18th century voyages.

A particular highlight is the British and World Archaeology section, which holds many pieces of material from famous sites around the world, as well as boasting a large British collection ranging from Roman and Saxon times.

Getting to Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is located in Cambridge, on Downing Street. There is no visitor parking at the site, and it is recommended that guests use one of the city’s five Park and Ride sites into the centre due to tourist numbers.

A number of national bus services run to the nearby Parker’s Piece stop, a 5-10 walk to the museum, while many local bus services stop on Emmanuel Street, a few minute’s walk away.

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