Cambridge University Expeditions Society
Founded in 1884 as the University's Museum of General and Local Archaeology, the museum initial collections included local antiquities collected by the Cambridge Antiquarian Society and artefacts from Polynesia donated by Alfred Maudslay and Sir Arthur Gordon. Anatole von Hügel, the Museum's first Curator donated his own collection of artefacts from the South Pacific. More material was collected by the 1898 Cambridge anthropological expedition to the Torres Strait under Alfred Haddon and W. H. R. Rivers. Haddon and Rivers would encourage their Cambridge students — including Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, John Layard and Gregory Bateson — to continue to collect for the museum in their ethnographic fieldwork.
Von Hügel set in motion a move to larger, specially built, premises: in 1913 the museum moved to its present location in Downing Street, although the new galleries were not fully installed until after World War I. Various depositions and donations of eighteenth-century collections — including material collected on James Cook's three expeditions — were made to the museum in the 1910s and 1920s.
Von Hügel's successors as curator have been Louis Colville Gray Clarke (from 1922 to 1937), Thomas Paterson (from 1937 to 1948), Geoffrey Bushnell (from 1948 to 1970), Peter Gathercole (from 1970 to 1981), Prof. David Phillipson (1981 to 2006), and the 2006-present Director, Prof. Nicholas Thomas.