Please note that there will be prolonged closures this summer as the collection is moved to the new building. For further information please see our Closure Dates
The Middle East Centre Archive was founded in 1961 by Elizabeth Monroe and Albert Hourani with the aim of preserving and making available for research the papers and photographs of individuals who have lived or served in the Middle East as for example senior Government representatives, members of the armed forces, bankers, businessmen, missionaries or travellers. For further details please see our Collecting Policy and a History of the Middle East Centre Archive: 1961-2007 (pdf file)
The Archive now contains over 2,500 boxes of the papers and photographs of over 550 individuals or organisations covering the period 1800 to the present day with strong holdings for the Palestine Mandate and for Oman in the 1970s.
If you have papers or photographs that you would like to add to the Archive or if you would like to offer financial support please see our Donation's webpage
New Building The Archive will be moving to purpose built facilities in the Middle East Centre's new Softbridge building, designed by Zaha Hadid. This will lead to a considerable upgrade in all of the Archive's facilities, including substantial space for the Archive's collections to grow. Due to the new building, the main entrance to the Archive has been closed. The Archive's temporary entrance is difficult to find. Please see our Finding the Archive webpage for further details. The opening of the new building is set for May 2015. The reading room will move as soon as the new building is completed. The storage areas will move later, during the summer of 2015. Please note that as the move approaches, there will be more closures to the Archive, in order to carry out preparation work for the move.
To use the Archive please contact the Archivist to make an appointment. Members of Oxford University should bring with them a valid Oxford University card. Other readers should bring with them a letter of introduction and some photo ID (for example a passport). Access for readers with disabilities should be discussed with the Archivist; there are four steps going down to the Archive. Remote access to the Archive via photocopying is not supported, for further details please see our policy on remote access.
Ms Debbie Usher, Archivist
The Archive is open by appointment from Monday to Friday
During term time Monday 9.00-13.00 and 14.00-16.15
Outside term time Monday 9.45-13.00 and 14.00-17.15
Tuesday to Friday 9.45-13.00 and 14.00-17.15
There is a daily 20 minute closure for tea/coffee at 11am and 4pm. There is no 4pm tea break on Mondays during term time.
If the Archivist is ill the reading room will be closed.
The Archive will be closed:
25 Mar - 17 Apr 2015 (Installation of new windows in the Archive's back office and Easter Vacation)
11 May -18 May 2015
Please note that as the move to the new building approaches, there will be more closures as preparations are made for the move. The reading room will move as soon as the new building is completed. However the storage areas will move later in the summer of 2015. If the collection move takes place in July, then it is likely that the Archive will be closed for all of June and July. It is recommended, if possible, to avoid visiting the Archive during the summer vacation.
Preparation prior to your visit
Please also read through the Archive's reading room rules and conduct.
For information on the Archive's extensive photographic collection please browse through our Photographic resources webpages.
Please browse through our Useful links webpage for information on how to find other Archives in the UK, as well as online Middle East resources.
For accommodation near to St Antony's College please see Bed and Breakfast accommodation
If you are visiting outside of term time then it is worth noting that many Colleges let rooms during vacation.
Useful information during and after your visit
Digital cameras are permitted in the Archive providing flash and sound are turned off and the standard copyright form filled in. For further details please see our Copying of Archives webpage which also notes some restrictions on copying.
Wireless internet is available in the Archive reading room. Researchers with access to Eduroam will automatically connect. Other researchers will need to get a password from the Porter's lodge for the visitor's network.
Advice on citation is available from our How to cite from the Archive webpage.
Projects and Exhibitions
The Middle East Centre Archive is a very active Archive. Listed below are some recent and ongoing projects and exhibitions in the Archive.
- Three Views of Oman Photograph Exhibition Sept 2011 The official website for the exhibition is online at http://www.threeviewsofoman.com/
- Charles Butt Project
- Palestine Veterans' Association and Palestine Command Collections Project
- Palestine Police Oral History Project