Michael Faraday Museum at the Royal Institution

21 Albemarle Street




tel: +44 (0)20 7409 2992







Contact details: Prof. Frank James (Head of Heritage & Collections); Charlotte New (Curator of Collections)


Date of visit: 30 June 2014


Nature and extent of collection


More than 50 pieces. Collection of medals associated with notable scientists such as Michael Faraday, Sir James Dewar, William Lawrence Bragg and George Porter. Many of the medals in the collection are in the process of being catalogued. All of our medals have been collected as part of the personal collections of significant scientists associated with the Royal Institution.  The medals were mainly presented to each individual as an award for instance the Rumford or Copley medals. The collection also includes some military medals, international medals awarded to scientists associated with the Ri and replicas of Nobel Prize medals.



All numbers below are estimated


Medals: More than 50

Other: Associated objects such as the original design artwork for the £20 note that depicted Michael Faraday



Specific strengths: Medals associated with Michael Faraday, Sir James Dewar, William Lawrence Bragg and George Porter.


Library: The library collection is comprised of scientific journals, history of science books and biographies but at present it is not publicly accessible.





Database used: Adlib


Proportion of collection on database: None of medal collection is on Adlib at present.


How much detail in database entries? 70% of information is on paper record waiting to be transferred.


Are images incorporated? Yes – as many as needed to record the detail.


Is the database accessible to the public? No.


Is the database publicly accessible online? No.





Are there permanent numismatic displays? No.


Is numismatic material incorporated into more general displays? No.


Is there a facility for temporary exhibitions? Yes.


Have there been numismatic exhibitions in the past? If so, what? No.



Access to the collection


Is there a study facility? Yes.


Is equipment (balances, magnifying glasses, etc.) provided? Yes.



Public engagement with numismatic collection


Is there a handling collection? Yes, if appropriate to the use.


Are numismatic collections used in Education sessions? No.


Do numismatic collections feature in gallery talks, lectures? No, although on occasion medals such as Copely and Rumford have been mentioned.


Are there other engagement activities based around numismatic collections? No.



ID and public enquiries


Does the museum offer a service for identifying objects and other public enquiries? Yes.



Curatorial knowledge


Is there any numismatic expertise in-house? If so, who, and in what areas? No.


Is there access to external expertise? If so, who and in what areas? Yes, through networks and curatorial support from Museum Development Officers


If there is expertise in-house, is there a willingness/capacity to share that with other museums? N/A