Arts Council England Designated Outstanding Collection Logo

The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society and has in its care several important collections, including those of the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, and the Society’s founder, Sir James Edward Smith.

Designated a collection of outstanding national importance by the Arts Council England in 2014, the holdings of the Linnean Society (which include library, archive and biological specimen material) provide an unsurpassed resource for the study of natural history.

Forthcoming Closures

Please note that the library will be closed, and unavailable to readers and visitors, on July 2 and 3, 2024. This is to allow for the installation of our new exhibition, Revolution: Nature in the Time of Change, 1776-1848. We apologise for any inconvenience.

The Library and Archives are open TuesdaysFridays, 10am–5pm.

If you would like to make an appointment, please email To allow adequate time to retrieve material, we ask that appointments are made at least 48 hours in advance, if possible.

Visits to our biological specimen collections must be overseen by our honorary curators, who work at other institutions. If you wish to arrange such a visit, please contact the Collections team at least a fortnight in advance.