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About our Collections

About our Collections

The Powell-Cotton Museum in Kent has an internationally significant collection of natural history and ethnography, an extensive collection of ceramics, fine art, archaeology, firearms, and a comprehensive archive, all of which are available for research. Visiting researchers, ranging from University professors to young students embarking on their first projects find a truly astounding collection available for study by appointment.

The primate material is world renowned and consists of almost 2,000 specimens. What makes it so special is that the Major was an excellent record keeper; for each specimen we have map references, longitude and latitude locations, detailed body dimensions, age, sex and external pathology with local names for diseases.

Major Powell-Cotton also collected a range of ethnographic objects. In 2009-12 the Museum hosted a PhD research associate in a study of the archive film footage taken by Diana and Antoinette in 1930s Angola. This led to a Heritage Lottery Funded community project resulting in a reinterpretation and display of some of our Angolan collection.

If you are interested in a research visit at the Powell-Cotton Museum, please refer to our guidelines below which you will need to read, fill in and submit for approval. 

Powell-Cotton Museum/Researchers Guidelines

Please send an informal research request via our contact form with your details and our Collections Officer will respond to you directly.  

Research Support

The archive and library collections are available to support research work on the museum’s collections.  Direct enquiries regarding the archive and library collections are welcomed and visits to view particular material can be arranged.  The museum charges bench fees for work on its collections, but is pleased to receive enquiries and requests regarding the archive and library and will make every endeavour to respond effectively.

Please click on the links below for more information about our collections.


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Photographs: Nikhilesh Havel

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