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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


The Friends organisation makes a vital contribution to the success of MAA as a thriving, accessible and relevant museum. Members of the Friends play a vital role in supporting fundraising activities and sponsoring a range of events and activities, including the prestigious annual Von Hu̎gel Lecture.

Visitors to the Museum look at displays in the COLOUR: Art, Science and Power exhibition during the Late: COLOUR - Art, Science & Power event. 2 November 2022.

A good time to join…

The Friends of MAA have an exciting programme of events, activities and opportunities – for individuals and students alike.

Benefits of Membership

  • For you…
    - The exclusive MAA Friends Newsletter
    - Invitations to special events and exhibition previews
    - A discount at the Museum shop

  • For the Museum…
    - The backing and enthusiasm of committed Members
    - Financial support – from your subscription – for care of our collections,
      ongoing research, acquisitions, scholarships, exhibitions
    - Your personal input, in the form of opinions, individual expertise and – if
      possible – your time (perhaps with help at some of our events or as a
      member of the Friends Committee)

To find out more, please email Ella at

How to join the MAA Friends, or renew your existing membership

You can join online or by post. Membership options are:

  • Individual Friend - £28.00
  • Joint Friends (for two members living at the same address) - £40.00
  • Under 25s - £15.00
  • Student (University of Cambridge) - £5.00
  • Life Friend - £400.00
  • Joint Life Friends - £600.00

Click here to join or renew online today!

To join by post, please complete the below form:

You may send the form to:

Membership Secretary, The Friends of MAA
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street



'Beneath our Feet: Archaeology of the Cambridge Region' - Dr Jody Joy

At Emmanuel College, 14 November 2023, 5:30PM

Spiral bracelet with moulded animal head ornament, Snailwell, Cambridgeshire. Late Iron Age/Early Roman. MAA 1953.25

An in person talk at Emmanuel College on the latest MAA exhibition, then a drinks reception and chance to see the exhibition at the MAA.

Pre-booking essential. Please email to reserve your place.

The Last Mughal Emperor’s Snakes and Ladders Board - Dr Mark Elliott

At the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 28 November 2023, 2PM.

Snakes and Ladders game board made of wood inlaid with mother of pearl, South Asia. 19th Century. MAA 1951.995.

An early nineteenth-century game board, probably the best known artefact from South Asia at MAA, has been published and exhibited widely in Cambridge and internationally for decades. But its provenance and back story has never been told. Recent research has brought to light fragments of a story of poetry, faith, empires, colonialism, rebellion, revenge, plunder and exile. This event will bring us around the object to talk about the detective work, guess-work and extrapolation that goes in to tracing the biography of artefacts in the Museum collections.

Followed by refreshments.

Pre-booking essential. Please email to reserve your place. 

Von Hügel Lecture

In 2010, the Museum launched its annual lecture series, named after the founding Curator Baron Anatole von Hügel, with the generous support of Peter Chapman, founding Chair of the MAA Friends. In 2019, the tenth annual lecture was delivered.

The inaugural Von Hügel lecture by Director Nicholas Thomas, 'Von Hügel's curiosiry: Encounter and experiment in the new museum', can be found printed as delivered in the HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 1(1).

Von Hügel Lecture 2023: Torres Strait collections and “the things we like best to know” 

At Emmanuel College, 11 October 2023, 5:00PM
Pre-booking essential. Please email to reserve your place.

This year, we are delighted to welcome Dr Leah Lui-Chivizhe, Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, to deliver the annual Von Hügel lecture.

The lecture will explore the narrativisation and silences of collections from the Torres Strait assembled in 1875 by WJ Macleay (Sydney) and by AC Haddon (Cambridge) in 1888 and 1898. It is driven in part by questions that continue to be asked of Dr Lui-Chivizhe. Questions such as “Why did they want our Old People?” and “Will there ever be a time when they will no longer want our things?” The questions guide her engagement with these collections as she works across disciplines and institutions to recover and write histories that shed light on the things Islanders want to know, today. This standpoint connects to a 1904 letter to Haddon from Ned Waria of Mabuiag, who wrote saying how pleased Islanders were to read “our old time stories”, casting the stories then as “some of the things we like best to know”.  

Notice board made from a piece of European board with remains of white paint and lettering in black pencil or crayon, Mer, Torres Strait, Australia. 19th Century. MAA Z 9982.

About the speaker:

Historian and curator, Leah Lui-Chivizhe is a Torres Strait Islander with enduring family connections to the eastern and western Torres Strait. Her research focuses on how nineteenth century collections from the region can be useful for reconnecting Islanders with our pre-colonial histories of human and more-than-human relations and contribute to decolonial praxis of collector institutions. Her first book, Masked Histories: Turtle shell masks and Torres Strait Islander people was published in 2022. 

Watch recordings of the most recent lectures:

Von Hügel Lecture 2019:
The V&A: Imperial pasts and the post-colonial present - Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Recorded at the Howard Theatre, Downing College, University of Cambridge, 14 March 2019

Von Hügel Lecture 2018:
Narrating and Curating the 'ritual object' - John Mack, Sainsbury Research Unit, University of East Anglia

MAA Friends Executive Committee

Chair Nick Stanley
Member Jane Woods
Member Carol Bell
Member Rosie Littlehales
Membership Secretary Wendy Brown
Director of the Museum Nicholas Thomas
Museum Manager Lucy Hockley

New Committee Members

There is plenty of further scope to arrange additional special events and talks at MAA, and to organise tours to similar museums and galleries.  Many other Friends’ organisations have Committee members who take charge of events and outings programmes, and MAA Friends would like to emulate them within our special areas of interest.

We are keen to recruit new Committee members for this specific purpose as well as to participate in our existing partnership work with MAA.  Would you like to get involved in this rewarding activity? For an informal discussion please send us an email.

For information on how we use Friends’ personal data please see our Friends’ Data Protection Statement:

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