The Balfour Library

The Balfour Library is one of the UK’s leading museum research and teaching libraries for the study of anthropology, archaeology and world music, holding around 20,000 books, 12,000 pamphlets and 300 journal titles.

Opening hours

The Balfour Library is located on the first floor of the Pitt Rivers Museum. Please enter via the main public entrance (via Natural History Museum) unless otherwise advised. Masks should be worn at all times whilst in the library.

Term-time: Monday to Friday  13.00 – 16.30 (last entrance 16.15)  

Vacation: By appointment only with Librarian.

Library reading room: current maximum capacity 4 persons (only Balfour Library material may be read).

Registering and borrowing

Any member of the the University of Oxford may register as a reader, but borrowing is normally restricted to undergraduate and postgraduate students of the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and School of Archaeology, as well as Human Sciences undergraduates, and academic staff. Other current University of Oxford members may be given borrowing rights, and external readers admitted for reference only use, at the discretion of the Librarian.

Holdings and services

The library holds about 20,000 books, 12,000 pamphlets and 300 journal titles (of which about 150 are current), on the subjects of Archaeology and Anthropology, especially in relation to material culture, art, world music, film and photography. The Balfour Library was founded in 1939 following the donation of around 4000 books and 6000 pamphlets by Lewis Balfour, bequeathed to him by his late father Henry Balfour, the first Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Services: Photocopier, microfiche, access to OLIS (Oxford Libraries Information Services), to which it contributes bibliographic records. Please note we are unable to offer inter-library loans or copying at this time.

Contacting the Library

Address: Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PP, UK
Telephone: +44 1865 270 939
Librarian: Mark R. Dickerson

Search the Catalogue

SOLO, Oxford University's online library catalogue, lists around 60% of the Balfour titles. The Balfour Library holdings have a BAL sublocation.