CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3270/2/2
TitleAnthropological Museum, University of Aberdeen
Date1940s - 1980s
Extent1 volume, 10 files, 1 pamphlet, 3 cards, 3 leaves
Administrative HistoryThe Anthropological Museum was formed by Robert Reid (1851 - 1939), Regius Professor of Anatomy, in 1907, from the disparate collections of archaeological and anthropological material that then existed within the University. The Anatomy Museum collection continued to function separately, being principally a teaching collection for anatomy students, but the Professor of Anatomy became defacto curator of both the Anatomy and Anthropological Museums. Both were (and remain) situated in Marischal College, though in the early 1970s, the comparative anatomy collection (animal skeletons and bones) was transferred from the Anatomy Museum to the University's Zoology Museum. Around the same time (c 1971), many of the archaeological skeletal remains (from cist and beaker burials) also appear to have been transferred from the Anatomy Museum to the Anthropological Museum (see slip catalogue entries in MS 3270/2/2/2).

Reid's successors, Alexander Low (1868 - 1950) and Robert Lockhart (1894 - 1987) both contributed to the development of the museum in their own ways: Low is particularly credited with strengthening the museum's holdings of archaeological skeletal and burial remains, whilst Lockhart is probably best remembered for developing the museum's collection of Chinese porcelain and bronze. The formal relationship between the Museum and the Professor of Anatomy ceased with the appointment of Lockhart's successor, David Sinclair, in 1964, though Lockhart was retained as Honorary Curator well into his retirement, 1964 - 1980, during which time he appointed a full time museum secretary and two technicians. In this period he was able to make great strides in updating Reid's 1912 museum catalogue and did much to raise awareness of the museum and its collections both within and out-with the University. He developed a friendship and strong working relationship with George 'Taffy' Davidson, some-time curator of the University's art collection, and in 1954 the two men embarked upon a working 'Tour' of modern European art galleries and museums.

In 1979 the University employed Charles Hunt as its first full-time, professional museum curator. Today (2004) the museum employs two curators and one conservator, contributes teaching time and materials to several University courses and runs a successful schools education service.
DescriptionMuseum reports, 1962 - 1978; museum catalogues, c 1972 - c 1978; museum collections, 20th c; museum correspondence, 1947 - 1972; museum christmas cards, 1960s - 1970s; museum refurbishment, 1979 - 1990; 'European Tour', 1954; Press cuttings, 1976.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to correspondence relating to the refurbishment of the museum is restricted under the terms of its deposit. Researchers wishing access should apply to the Senior Curator, Special Libraries and Archives, outlining the nature of their enquiry. Other material is open, subject to signature accepting conditions of use at reader registration sheet.
Add to My Items