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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

A new collections study centre for MAA

We are hugely excited to be working on the most ambitious collections project undertaken by MAA for generations: the rehousing of our off-site collections to a refurbished historic Cold War bunker in south Cambridge, where they will be more accessible than ever before.

Over 2020-2024, a Stores Move team of up to ten people will inventory, hazard check, and make digital images of the approximately 250,000 archaeological and ethnographic objects; pack them for removal and storage; and ensure their safe transport and rehousing in the Centre for Material Culture. We will ensure that the collections are both appropriately stored and made physically and intellectually accessible, in person and digitally through MAA’s online catalogue. The CMC's new, purpose-built object lab will welcome researchers, students, community groups and other stakeholders from Cambridge and around the world.

The University of Cambridge has supported a full refit of the bunker, which was constructed in the 1960s and was intended to serve as the regional seat of government for the Eastern region (RSG-4) after a nuclear attack. It never served its original purpose, fortunately, and has lain unused for many years. Work on the Grade I listed Brutalist concrete heritage building was completed in September 2020.

The new Centre will house collections that represent the cultural heritage, history and creative spirit of peoples in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the United Kingdom, including the Cambridge region. They have tremendous cultural significance to communities locally and around the world, and MAA is committed to addressing and exploring their histories and making them available to the widest possible audiences. The Stores Move team’s work to document and digitize the collections in advance of the move reflects MAA’s commitment to increase and diversify access to collections and to decolonise knowledge and collections care throughout the institution.

Follow our progress over on social media with #MAAStoresMove!

Two million years of human history. One million artefacts. Countless astonishing stories.