Royal Geographical Society - with The Institute of British Geographers
The Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) is the professional body for geography and the largest and most active learned societies. It promotes and supports geographical learning and teaching through research programmes, resources and professional development for schools, lectures and exhibitions and holds one of the world's largest geographical collections.
The Royal Geographical Society has Designated Collections of national importance.
Association or society
10am - 5pm Mondays to Fridays
Closed: Saturday and Sunday
Individual charges apply per event, please visit www.rgs.org/whatson for a full calendar which is produced termly
All the geographical collections at the Royal Geographical Society are Designated Collections of national importance.
The collection includes cartographic material, the picture library, the library material, the archives and artefacts. These collections are essential for the study of the history of exploration, discovery, mountaineering and modern geography. They also offer a unique access point to the understanding of cultural exchange and encounter around the world.
In June 2004 the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) opened its new facilities to the public, which provide access to one of the world’s largest geographical collections containing over two million maps, photographs, books, artwork, artefacts and documents. The collection tells the story of 500 years of geographical discovery and research.
The collections include many important records from exploration in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from Scott’s expeditions to Antarctica, to David Livingstone's in Africa. Other treasures in the collections include some of the earliest photographs of Africa, Asian and the Caribbean, and the first Arabian photographs of Mecca and Medina.
World Cultures, Social History, Science and Technology, Photography, Natural Sciences, Archives
Key artists and exhibits
- Everest expeditions; Antarctic expedtions; David Livingstone collection; personal items formerly belonging to some of the world’s greatest explorers - from Shackleton’s helmet to H M Stanley’s boots. M C Andrews -strong in maps of British Isles, Ireland, and portolan charts; Sir H G Fordham - post-road books, maps, and itineraries especially of British Isles and of France ; G B Greenough - topographic maps of Europe etc., many annotated by him geologically. A range of some archival, reference, working, and proof copies of cartographic materials from the firms of Laurie & Whittle, G Philip, and E Stanford (incorporating Arrowsmith firm). Photographic collections - Arabia: The photographs of Captain W.H.I. Shakespear (1878-1915), Harry St John Philby (1885-1960), A. L. Holt, Gerald de Gaury and Sir George Rendel. Thomas Baines (1820-1875): Original oil paintings as well as sketches and watercolours (mainly of Africa and Australia) resident artist of the Society who accompanied David Livingstone on his 1858 expedition to the Zambezi. Samuel White Baker (1821-1893): Watercolour sketches of his expedition to locate the source of the Nile. Central Asia & Tibet: photographs by Jean Claude White, official photographer of the Younghusband Mission to Tibet in 1904, Douglas Carruthers (1882-1962) and portraits by the British botanist Frank Kingdon-Ward (1885-1958).
- Designated Collection
Tawa’If – An Exhibition: The Life and Art of the Last Courtesans
- 4 — 6 September 2015
The tawa’if, the courtesans of Mughal India, were figures who embodied a world of refinement through their mastery of poetry, music and dance. Celebrated by the Mughals for their intellect, talent and beauty, the tawa’if were considered authorities on art, etiquette and culture, yet today, ‘tawa’if’ is the common word in Hindi for prostitute.
Caught in the tide of a fast changing India at the dawn of the 20th century, the tawa’if were scorned by the Victorians as debauchers and driven out of the halls of high society. However, even as their numbers dwindled and many found themselves forced into sex work, the tawa’if fought to save their rich cultural traditions. Some became household names, the equivalent of modern A-list celebrities, they were the first recording artists and film stars, paving the way for the heroines of Bollywood. Yet today the tawa’if, who were once held in such high esteem, have been forgotten by history, remembered only as prostitutes.
As part of their ongoing Lost Traditions season of events, the Asian Music Circuit presents Tawa’if, a new exhibition exploring the life, art and fall from grace of these truly extraordinary historical and cultural figures. An audio visual experience, the exhibition follows the story of the tawa’if from the cultural renaissance of the mid-19th century to their modern day incarnation in the dancing bars of Dehli and Kolkata.
New Educational resources on China (KS2 & KS3)
New learning resources to accompany the Society's exhibition on China entitled 'Seeing China: Community Reflections' have recently been added to the 'Unlocking the Archives' website for schools. The resources called 'China - Snapshots in Time' target the key stage 2 and 3 Geography and History curricula and explore themes of exploration, migration and identity. Activities explore basic information about the geography and people of China, the tale of a Victorian lady explorer and her travels across the country as well as touching upon the views of contemporary Chinese communities within London. These free resources can be accessed by visiting www.unlockingthearchives.rgs.org.
- Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
New Educational Resources on East Africa (KS2 & KS3)
New learning resources to accompany the Royal Geographical Society's exhibition on African explorers entitled 'Bombay Africans 1850-1910' have recently been added to the popular 'Unlocking the archives' website. The resources target the key stage 2 and 3 Geography and History curricula and explore the themes of enslavement, exploration and migration. They also provide a behind the headlines look at the changing face of modern Kenya. Resources feature factsheets providing background information, associated downloadable activities, galleries of archive images and teacher's notes.
- The Royal Geographical Society with IBG
How to obtain
Resources are free to access on the 'Unlocking the Archives' website.
New Educational Resources on the Punjab (KS2 & KS3)
New learning resources to accompany the Society's exhibition on the Punjab entitled 'The Punjab: Moving Journeys' have recently been added to the 'Unlocking the archives' website for schools. The resources called 'India - Pictures of the Past' target the Key Stage 2 and 3 Geography, History and Citizenship curricula and explore themes of independence, partition and migration. Activites explore basic information about India and Pakistan and the geography and peoples of the Punjab and also touch upon the views of contemporary Punjabi communities within the UK. These free resources can be accessed by visiting www.unlockingthearchives.rgs.org.
- The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Unlocking the Archives
Online resources using the collections of the Society for geography, history and citizenship. Choose from a growing range of themes such as Everest, Antarctica, Caribbean migration, Livingstone and Empire and Rio de Janeiro. Developed by teachers, these resources can be downloaded to give ideas and activities on using collections for learning in the classroom. Explore the gallery of images, have a go at the quiz, download the factsheets together with the classroom activities, post your opinions in the forum and send us your work for inclusion in the People's Exhibition.
Your Climate Your life
A new website for 11 - 19 year olds on our changing climate supports the geography curriculum. It provides a wealth of resources including interactives, images, downloads and opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint. It has been developed in partnership with schools to engage teachers and students to understand climate change.
- Rinku Mitra
Royal Geographical Society - with The Institute of British Geographers
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