Two hunting swords and one hunting spear, highly decorated on a green background

Research

The Royal Armouries encourages research into arms and armour and related subjects across all periods of history, from antiquity to the present day.

The Royal Armouries is the United Kingdom’s national museum of arms and armour, and holds one of the most important collections of its type in the world. At its core is the celebrated collection, which originated in the nation’s working arsenal, assembled over many centuries at the Tower of London.

Since the reign of Elizabeth I, parts of the collection have been deliberately arranged for display, making the museum one of the first organisations in the world to create a visitor attraction with deliberate intent. Comprising some 75,000 items, the collection is now displayed not only at the Tower but at the purpose-built museum in Leeds and at Fort Nelson in Hampshire.

Since 2005, the Royal Armouries has also managed and enhanced the collection of small arms assembled by the British Army since the early 19th century (the former Pattern Room), which is now also in Leeds and known as the National Firearms Centre.

Research Policy

The Royal Armouries believes that increasing the stock of knowledge and understanding of arms and armour is one of its fundamental duties as the custodian of a national collection. It also believes that conserving, managing and interpreting the collection, and the strategy and decision making of the organisation must be based on an evidence base proportionate and adequate to its needs. It is therefore our policy to undertake research, both to help us to enthral and educate the public about arms and armour and their impact on the history, people and cultures of the world; and to inform the organisation’s strategic development and decision-making for the future.


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  • The position of Curator Emeritus is only open to former members of the Royal Armouries curatorial staff and the appointment of each is at the invitation of the Director General and Master of the Armouries.

  • A directory of the Honorary Historical Consultants who provide the Royal Armouries with specialist knowledge for a wide variety of subjects in support of its many activities.

  • History of research in to the Line of Kings at the Tower of London.

Did you know?

No rust for the wicked

Wrought iron does not rust as quickly as cast iron. At Fort Nelson the ‘Boxted Bombard’ – a large medieval cannon made of wrought iron – is still in good condition despite being left outdoors and unprotected for hundreds of years.

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