Museum collections

Help with searching

General tips

To perform a wildcard search when performing a basic or advanced search, use the “*” operator before or after a string of letters.

Basic searching

To perform a basic search, type one or more words in the search box marked ?Search the Collections?.

A basic search will query all key fields of information about objects, including object types, descriptions, and the subjects of iconography, therefore results can take a while to appear. For example, a search for ‘guitar’ will return not only musical instruments, but also objects where guitars are depicted, such as in paintings or drawings.

To do a more specific search, use the advanced search tool, and/or use the Refine search facets in your search results.

Advanced search

The advanced search drop-down provides options allowing the search of specific fields. One or more of the fields can be used to build a search query. The fields will auto-generate suggestions as you type.


The Creator refers to the person, company, or institution responsible for creating the object.


The date slider allows you to limit searches to items created within a certain date range. Years can also be entered manually into the provided fields.


The Place field searches for locations where an object was created, e.g. ‘London’, ‘Paris’, ‘Venice’.


The Associate field searches for items associated with a particular person or institution. For example, you can find awards presented to composers, or search for persons and institutions linked to specific objects.


The Subject field searches for specific iconography themes, or objects depicted in iconography, e.g. ‘Cupid’, ‘performance’, ‘dog’.


The Person field searches for a specific person or institution depicted on an object, e.g. ‘Britten, Benjamin’, ‘Holst, Gustav’, ‘Vaughan Williams, Ralph’.

Object number

Search using a specific object number, if you already know the item you’re looking for.

Object name

Search for a specific type of object, e.g. ‘lute’, ‘painting’, ‘grand pianoforte’.

Refine search

When reviewing search results, select the Creator, Production place, and Object category facet drop-downs to refine your results further.