.The Museum holds archaeological and ethnographic objects from all parts of the world. It was founded in 1884 when General Pitt Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology, gave his collection to the University.
The founding gift contained more than 18,000 objects but there are now around 300,000. Many were donated by early anthropologists, colonial administrators and explorers, but the Museum has continued to collect through donations, bequests, special purchases and through its staff and students in the course of their fieldwork.
The Museum hosts around 100 research visits by those wishing to consult its object collections in more detail, and answers many more enquiries by correspondence.