Royal Geographical Society - with The Institute of British Geographers

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Logo
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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.

Venue Type:

Association or society

Opening hours

10am - 5pm Mondays to Fridays

Closed: Saturday and Sunday

Admission charges

Individual charges apply per event, please visit 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.

Collection details

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
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

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


  • 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


  • 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
1 Kensington Gore
Greater London


Society website

21cc series website


General enquiries

Education department

Picture library

Events Office

Geography Outdoors: the centre supporting field research, exploration and outdoor learning


020 7591 3000


020 7591 3001

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.