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Library and archive

Cropped page from a wallpaper sample book

Detail of a page from a bound wallpaper sample book

Library and Archive

The museum’s library and archive contains publications and manuscript material relating to the history of home from the medieval period to the present.

The library includes books and journals covering a wide variety of subjects relating to the home, such as the decorative arts, architecture, garden history, design and material culture and social history. There is an extensive collection of catalogues of household furnishings. Another highlight is the collection of published domestic advice, including household management, interior decoration, cookery and gardening manuals.

The museum also collects a variety of primary source material including photographs of homes, with supporting questionnaires and oral history testimony. There is an extensive reference resource of visual representations of the domestic interior and a growing collection of wallpaper and textile sample books. Other holdings include a number of manuscript letters, diaries and account books.


Access to library and archive material and the collections enquiry service is temporarily unavailable while the curatorial team focuses on the museum’s major development project, ‘Unlocking the Geffrye’. The service will resume in Spring 2020.