One of Eton’s distinctive strengths, the College Collections include art and artefacts, manuscripts and archives, rare books and natural history specimens. Housed in three museums, galleries, a library and an archive, as well as in historic buildings across the College, the Collections range in date from prehistory to the present day and have been built up over nearly six centuries.
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Open to Visitors and Researchers
Each year, our free museums, exhibition galleries, reading rooms and historic spaces welcome thousands of visitors —schoolchildren, students, lovers of history and art, families, specialists and researchers.
Objects from the Collections continue to play a role in the everyday life of the College and are used extensively in teaching Eton boys and pupils from other schools. They are also lent to external exhibitions in the UK and abroad. Through our online catalogue and digital resources, we aim to provide the public with worldwide access to the collections and museums.
Some of the outstanding objects in the Collections are:
- ‘Leaving Portraits’ by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West and Sir Thomas Lawrence
- oldest known FA Cup programme (1882)
- specimen of a kakapo, a now critically endangered nocturnal parrot from New Zealand
- stained glass windows designed by John Piper
- Henry V’s last will and testament
- Second century Fayum mummy portrait
- page of Charles Darwin’s manuscript draft of Origin of Species
- Tudor silver and coconut cup
- finest late-medieval murals north of the Alps
- copy of the Gutenberg Bible.
people visit our free museums, galleries, reading rooms and historic spaces each year.
Preservation and Access
Helped by the support of donors and the Friends of the College Collections, we look after these outstanding collections to preserve and develop them for the future and to make them accessible to the local community and the wider world.