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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0060 DF TRU
Held at: Natural History Museum
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Full title: THE TRUSTEES
Date(s): 1852-1989
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 10 series
Name of creator(s): Board of Trustees | British Museum
Standing Committee | British Museum
Board of Trustees | British Museum (Natural History)
Board of Trustees | Natural History Museum
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The British Museum was founded in 1753 by Act of Parliament (26 George II c.22), and a Board of Trustees established. The Board consisted of Crown and Government nominees as well as elected members and representatives of the families of the founders and benefactors of the Museum. The Board met fortnightly at first, and then from 1761 four times a year at what were called 'General Meetings', which became purely formal. The Board delegated the day-to-day business of the Museum to a Standing Committee, which was established in 1755. Sub-Committees were set up by the Standing Committee from time to time as the need arose. The Chairman of the Board was always one of the three 'Principal Trustees': the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons.

From 1871 extracts from the Standing Committee minutes relating to the natural history departments were copied for the use of the departments (DF902), and from 1884, once the departments had moved, the Standing Committee met at South Kensington to transact business connected with the British Museum (Natural History) (DF900). General Meetings of the Board were likewise held at this Museum from time to time, and their minutes are held here, together with the minutes of the sub-committees concerned with natural history (DF901). In 1963 the British Museum (Natural History) was separated from the British Museum by Act of Parliament, and a newly constituted Board of Trustees met for the first time on 11 October 1963.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Trustees, 1852-1989, comprising: DF900 Minutes of the Standing Committee; DF901 Minutes of General Meetings and sub-committee meetings; DF902 Extracts from minutes of the Standing Committee; DF903 Background papers and memoranda of the Standing Committee; DF904 The Chairman's agendas for Standing Committee meetings; DF905 The Director's precis for the General Meetings; DF906 Papers of the Principal Trustees; DF907 Attendance books for General and Standing Committee meetings; DF908 Books of presents; DF909 Lists of trustees, officers and staff.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

By appointment with the Archivist, by email to or by post to the Museum Archivist, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the Archivist's discretion. Photocopying service available. Digital photography (without flash) permitted for research purposes on completion of a photography permit form.

Finding aids:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transferred by the Secretary to the Trustees.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry copied from the Natural History Museum online catalogue by Sarah Drewery.
References: Miller, E, 1973. That noble cabinet, a history of the British Museum. London: Deutsch. p. 400
Stearn, W T, 1981. The Natural History Museum at South Kensington. London: Heinemann. p.414 Ch.2
Wallace, J, 1990. 'The archives of the British Museum'. Archives 19:213-223

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Sep 2008

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