When Wilhelm Foy, the first director of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum took over the responsibility for the Cologne anthropological collection in 1901, he committed himself - even before the opening of the museum on the Ubierring in 1906 - to building up an "adequate library" as he was of the opinion that a good reference library was as essential for the organisational and scientific work in a museum as one's daily bread. Three years after the opening he stated that the stock of books had reached 2,980 volumes. The library subscribed to 50 periodicals. He also pointed out that, from a geographical point of view, the collection of books, particularly on Oceania, was quite exhaustive.

Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln / Photo: Wolfgang Meier

In the new building, the museum has a modern library with a total of 44,300 items of which 27,600 are monographs. The inventory also includes 11,500 back-run issues of 580 different journals and magazines; the library currently subscribes to 90 periodicals. In addition, the library has maps and more than 1,500 special prints.
Already digitalised printed items from the acquisition files of the museum can be researched in the online catalogue using descriptive abstracts. Scanned documents are available for viewing.

Opening Times

Books and periodicals can be consulted in the reading room from Tue to Fri 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm.
As this is a reference library, individual books cannot be borrowed.

online catalogue

Opening Hours & Adress

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum
Cultures of the world
Cäcilienstraße 29-33
50667 Köln
+49 0221 / 221 - 313 56

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Thursday 10am-8pm
(public holidays 10am-6pm)
Closed on Mondays