The British Museum opened in 1759 to display the collection of Han Sloan. The main books of this collection were of natural curiosities. The museum was initially funded by lottery money, and although records were archived, there was no actual archivist in the library until recently. Therefore, nothing in the museum’s archive is cataloged. It has been an ongoing process to decipher the various methods and reasoning behind the archiving methods that have been used up until this point. There are no records on the archival decisions and the museum is only on its second archivist. Many items have been bound in books and almost haphazardly titled. The books that were first bound were original papers for the museum such as information regarding set up and even museum complaints. Currently, the archive does not have a digital space or a book scanner, but there are many microfilmed items.
As the museum evolved, so did the departments within the museum. This has created further confusion because as the department names changed, so did the indexing. The current archivist is working hard to develop a system for the museum. She utilizes interns and volunteers to help go through all of the museum’s archived materials. Although it is a slow moving process, it is an exciting one. There are many interesting items strewn throughout the British Museum’s Archives that are just waiting to be found.