Where to find it
About this work
These records relate to the management of the collection, and primarily its accessioning and cataloguing. The records provide essential information relating to the objects' provenance, acquisition and placement within the collections.
It is a complex body of records, reflecting the complexity of the accessioning and cataloguing procedure. Some explanations of the procedure may be found in CM/Cla.
The central record of accession is to be found in the 'Main' series of accession registers[CM/Acc], which records information first entered into the notebooks [CM/Not] and transcribed onto invoice slips [CM/Env]. The series of inventory cards [CM/Inv], filed by accession number and in subject groups, replicates the information from the accessions registers.
Supplementary series of accession registers were also kept, relating to specific areas of the collections [CM/Reg]. One of these series of registers is for ethnographical materials transferred to the British Museum [CM/Reg/A].
In some cases, accession registers and records are annotated with details of transfer to another museum.
A group of 'Collection Dossiers', compiled in the 1970s, acts to collate information about groups or collections of material [CM/Col].
This body of records also includes inventories of collections or groups of objects in the stores [CM/Lis], and papers relating to the collecting activities of Paira Mall in India and the Far East [CM/Pam], and to EM Dance's work in arranging the Classical Medicine Gallery [CM/Dan].
Other papers relating to gallery arrangement and research on the collections were transferred to the Western Manuscripts Department of the Library, and may be found in the WMS 8000 series.
Financial records of acquisition are at WA/HMM/FI; records relating to the transfer of collections are at WA/HMM/TR. For guidance on how to locate the records relating to a specific object or collection, see the leaflet Museum objects: accession and transfer records.