Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Your first sight in the Maudslay gallery
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Founded in 1884, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology holds world-class collections of art and artefacts from all over the world, representing cultures and histories over millennia.

In 1997 the Museum's entire collection was recognised as a Designated Collection of national importance and in 2013 the museum was shortlisted for the Art Fund's Museum of the Year Prize.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Open Tuesday - Saturday 10.30am - 4.30pm and Sunday 12.00 - 4.30pm

Closed Bank Holiday Mondays

Admission charges

Free admission

The entire collection of this museum is a Designated Collection of national importance.

This museum was founded in 1884 on the basis of two important collections: the Cambridge Antiquarian Society collection relating to British archaeology; and anthropological artefacts from the South Seas acquired by, among others, the museum's first curator, Baron Anatole von Hügel. The collections now comprise approximately half a million archaeological items and over 150,000 ethnographic objects. Most have been acquired through Cambridge-based research and are exceptionally well documented.

The strengths of the archaeological collections include their worldwide scope and the extensive Palaeolithic and Mesolithic material. Important anthropological collections include artefacts from Cook's first voyage to the Pacific in 1769 and artefacts and photographs from the 1898 Cambridge Expedition to the Torres Strait.

Items from this collection

Collection details

World Cultures, Costume and Textiles, Archaeology

Key artists and exhibits

  • In addition to the permanent displays the following special exhibitions are currently on view:
  • Paired Brothers: concealment and revelation (Iatmul ritual art from the Sepik, Papua New Guinea)
  • Coveney: Island Identity in the Fens
  • ROCK-ART image people land knowledge
  • Vanuatu Stael: Kastom & Creativity
  • Designated Collection
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Imposed Migration, a colour lithograph by Pudlo Pudlat

The Power of Paper: 50 Years of Printmaking from Australia, Canada and South Africa

  • 14 February — 6 December 2015 *on now

The art of printmaking has always put images into circulation: from Dürer to Hogarth and since, artists have made prints, in order to reach and shape public imaginations.

From the mid-twentieth century onwards, colonized peoples and indigenous communities began to represent themselves through art in modern media. In Australia, Canada and South Africa, they depicted culture, history and struggle through prints made in remote community workshops and in city studios.

This exhibition is a revelation of eloquent art made by black and indigenous artists since the 1960s. Inspired by environments from the Arctic to the Australian desert, from the country and the city, it foregrounds visions of place, custom and history, in settings that are at once profoundly different, yet linked by empire and the politics of decolonization.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Black & White Photograph of Reindeer, Pack & Crib by Oscar Mamen 1929

River Stars Reindeer: Imaging Evenki & Orochen communities of Inner Mongolia & Siberia

  • 23 June — 27 September 2015 *on now

In the early part of the twentieth century, Russian anthropologist Sergei Shirokogoroff, and Cambridge’s graduate Ethel Lindgren, together amassed a collection of 26,000 photographs and related materials documenting the Evenki and Orochen peoples of Inner Mongolia and Siberia. The majority of these have never been seen - until now. The Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge and MAE (Kunstkamera), St Petersburg, are currently working to share these photographs with present-day Evenki and Orochen communities and scholars. This evocative exhibition is about the reconnection of these communities with their images, their histories, and their stories.

Suitable for

  • Any age


  • Chinese
  • Russian


Detail of Fitzbillies' famous Chelsea buns

Tea & Talk at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology: Herding photos of Reindeer

  • 1 August 2015 From 2:30pm

Tea & Talk at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology: Join curators, researchers and conservators at the museum on the first Saturday of the month for an informal and behind- the-scenes talk about their work, followed by Tea and Fitzbillies’ famous Chelsea buns.

In the first of the new series, Dr Jocelyne Dudding will talk about curating the MAA’s current exhibition, River Stars Reindeer: Imaging Evenki and Orochen communities of Inner Mongolia and Siberia.

Book via the MAA events page:


£3 per talk. Free to MAA Friends.


Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Downing Street


Museum website



01223 333 516


01223 333 517

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.