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


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Fitzbillies' Chelsea Buns at MAA Tea & Talk

Tea & Talk at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology: Programme for Autumn/Winter 2015

  • 5 September 2015 — 2 January 2016 *on now

MAA Tea & Talk Autumn/Winter 2015

Join curators, researchers and conservators at the museum on the first Saturday of the month for an informal behind- the-scenes talk about their work, followed by tea and Fitzbillies’ famous Chelsea buns. Book via the MAA events page at

Saturday 5 September: Atta Kwame and Pamela Clarkson on Making Relief Prints

Saturday 3 October 2015: Dr Trish Biers on The Secret of the Moche Giants

Saturday 7 November 2015: Dr Mark Elliot on Unlocking Asia at MAA

Saturday 5 December 2015: Imogen Gunn on Childhood in Cambridge

Saturday 2 January 2016: Dr Chris Wingfield on Planning MAA's Future


£3 per talk. Free to MAA Friends.

Pudlo Pudlat, Imposed Migration, colour lithograph, 1986

Drypoint Printmaking Workshop - The Power of Paper: 50 Years of Printmaking in Australia, Canada & South Africa

  • 6 December 2015 2-4pm

Drypoint Printmaking Workshop with Curwen Print Study Centre. An Immediate and sensitive intaglio process will give you the ability to create intricate and detailed images with a rich characterful line, working with a contemporary, adaptable material that can be treated traditionally or experimentally.

As part of the exhibition, The Power of Paper: 50 Years of Printmaking in Australia, Canada and South Africa, a series of workshops and demonstrations by professional printmakers will be held on the first and last Sunday of the month, engaging with the printing techniques on display and using the printing press featured in the exhibition. For workshops with limited places, booking is required via the MAA website:


£20/£15 concessions. Ages 12+. 8 places available. Materials supplied. Booking required.

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.