About KUM


The Kyoto University Museum (KUM) was established in 1997, 100 years after the establishment of Kyoto University in 1897 as Japan’s second national university. The origin of KUM can be traced back to the Exhibition Hall built by the Faculty of Letters in 1914, which was later expanded and renamed the Museum of the Faculty of Letters. Valuable collection items also accumulated in other faculties and institutions of Kyoto University, which increasingly necessitated a center for storage and management, leading to the establishment of KUM. The number of collections in KUM currently totals around 2.6 million. Collections cover a wide spectrum of research fields, from humanities and the natural sciences to engineering. They include numerous natural treasures, important cultural assets, and various specimens of plants, animals, and fossils. They serve as research materials for researchers and students worldwide.


1897 Kyoto Imperial University was founded.
1906 The College of Letters was opened.
1907 The History Department of Faculty of Letters was opened.
1914 The first museum building ‘Exhibition Hall’ (Chinretsukan) was completed.
1959 The name was changed from ‘Exhibition Hall’ to ‘Museum’ (Hakubutsukan).
1986 The new building of the Museum of the Faculty of Letters was completed. The Faculties of Science and
Agriculture and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences organized a joint research committee for drafting a
new museum. This paved the way for securing natural historical materials.
1989 A basic plan for the Kyoto University Natural History Museum was drafted.
From 1989 to 1997, a concept emerged to found the Kyoto University General Museum by combining
the Museum of Faculty of Letters and the Natural History Museum. Meanwhile, a search for materials of
historical importance was carried out in the Faculty of Engineering and some other places.
1997 The Kyoto University Museum (KUM) was founded to accommodate collections from the fields of humanities,
natural sciences, as well as engineering.
2001 Permanent exhibition of the KUM was opened for the public.


Kyoto University has preserved a large number of academic specimens, materials, and educational resources collected and researched over the past one and a quarter centuries. These include national treasures, important cultural properties, and other cultural assets, as well as internationally valuable items in the fields of cultural, natural, and technological history.

The Kyoto University Museum was established to centrally store and manage these primary materials in an appropriate environment, promoting their use in advanced research and education both inside and outside the university, and disclosing the results to the public. To fulfill these objectives, the museum performs the following tasks:

  1. Basic research on the preservation, management, unified classification, registration, and use of primary materials. Development and research of theories and techniques for extracting academic information from primary materials.
  2. Creation of a database of information on primary sources, and construction of a network for information exchange.
  3. Development and research of basic technologies for public access to primary sources and educational support.
  4. As a joint educational and research facility of Kyoto University, the museum provides the results of the above activities to university faculties and other research institutes, and further enhances the content of its activities with the cooperation of these institutions.

In addition, the museum provides learning opportunities to the general public through exhibitions and lectures, and continues its activities to become a museum open to civil society.

Faculty members

Director: Dr. NAGAMASU Hidetoshi      
Professor: Dr. NAGAMASU Hidetoshi Dr. IWASAKI Naoko Dr. MOTOKAWA Masaharu Dr. TAKAI Masanaru 
Associate Professor: Dr. SHIOSE Takayuki Dr. MURAKAMI Yumiko Dr. SASAKI Tomohiko  
Lecturer: Mr. GOTOH Haruyoshi      
Assistant Professor: Dr. KAKUTANI Takehiko Dr. SAITO Ayumu Dr. TAKENOUCHI Atsushi Dr. ITO Tsuyoshi 

(April 1st, 2022)