The Horniman’s collected archives comprise images, plans, cuttings, marketing materials and more that have direct relevance to the Museum, Gardens and the collections. The archives act as a primary source for the contextualisation of object collections and for further research.

Collections archives

The Anthropology archive includes the Beryl de Zoete collection and fieldwork documentation.

The Musical Instruments archive includes the Adam Carse collection, the Boosey & Hawkes archive, the Dolmetsch collection, the Neil Wayne concertina collection and the Eric McGavin collection.

The Natural History collection includes material from Walter. H. Bennett (Palaeontology), the Edward Hart papers (Taxidermy) and Arthur Wyatt (Geology) material.

Institutional archive

The Horniman records contain material relating to the organisation’s history, development and activities since its foundation in 1898, including:

  • the founding of the Horniman;
  • the history and provenance of its object collections.

In 1901, the Horniman was passed to the London County Council. Consequently, many of the organisation’s administrative records from 1901 to 1990 are available for research at the London Metropolitan Archives via their online catalogue.

The Horniman is not a repository for the personal papers of the Horniman family. Sadly, very little information relating to these individuals appears to have survived. Biographies and further sources of information about family members will be added to our online collections as they are researched.

Access to the collections

The Archives collection is currently available by prior appointment. Please get in touch via

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: