Our Collection Research Facilities

At Imperial War Museums, we aim to provide the widest possible access to our outstanding collection, be that printed material, documents, sound, film, photographs or works of art. Details relating to our holdings can be found at our website’s Collections Search facility, so do look here first. It will ensure you get the most from your planned visit.

If you would like to purchase a copy of something you find during a search – either as a commercial or private customer - our Collections Sales and Licensing team would be pleased to hear from you.

Should you wish to visit us in order to consult in more depth one or more items from the collection, we offer the following services.

Library, documents, sound and records on the history of IWM

You can access our documents and sound archive, library, digital resources and IWM administrative records by making an appointment for the Research Room at IWM London. Please provide three working days’ notice and details of those collections you wish to consult, which can be obtained via our online Collections Search facility . That way we can assist you in getting the most from your visit. You can book an appointment for a morning or afternoon session – or indeed both – here. 

Opening times:

Monday-Thursday (closed on Fridays and Bank Holidays)

Morning session: 10am-1pm

Afternoon session: 2pm-5pm

Christmas closure: The Research Room will be shut over the Christmas period. The last day we will be open in 2017 is Thursday 21st December. The Research Room will re-open on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

Photographs

For photographs, use our Collections Search to find the items you would like to see in the Visitors’ Room at IWM London’s All Saints Annexe .Then email photoadmin@iwm.org.uk to book an appointment. The Photograph Visitor Room is in the All Saints Annexe at Austral Street, London SE11 4SJ, five minutes’ walk from IWM London - download a map here

Opening times:

Monday and Friday 10am-5pm

(Closed on Bank Holidays)

Christmas closure: The Photograph Visitor Room will be shut over the Christmas period. The last day we will be open in 2017 is Monday 18th December. The Visitor Room will re-open on Friday 12th January 2018.

Works of art

At present, we are unable to accommodate requests to view artworks and posters in store. It is our ambition to facilitate access in the future and we will review the issue at the end of 2017.

You can still access information on our art collection online, where you will find images of most of the posters in the collection .

Film

IWM's film collection covers social, political and military aspects of conflicts. 

For commercial film researchers, we have a team of experienced specialist curators who can offer assistance. You can contact them at filmcommercial@iwm.org.uk Monday – Friday: 10am-5pm (closed on Bank Holidays).

They can provide advice on the IWM film collection including researching online, researching film material that is not yet listed online, viewing appointments, ordering time-coded DVD screeners, licence fees and the supply of broadcast format copies.

For museums, armed forces, veterans and their immediate family, students, family history researchers and filmmakers involved with the IWM Short Film Festival, we can offer a limited bespoke viewing and copying service. For details of these services and advice on accessing the IWM film collection for such purposes, please contact film@iwm.org.uk. Their hours of business are the same for those of the commercial film team.

If you already have an appointment to view film at IWM London’s All Saints Annexe, you can download a map with its location here

Objects

IWM’s collection of three-dimensional objects includes uniforms and equipment, weapons and ammunition, orders, medals and decorations, flags, insignia and ephemera, If you would like to view any of this material please book an appointment by e-mailing objects@iwm.org.uk at least two weeks before your proposed visit. Please note that much of this material is held at IWM Duxford and has to be viewed there.

Explore History

Explore History is a drop-in work space at IWM London, with a selection of books and resources about war and conflict from the First World War to the present day. You do not need to make an appointment to visit and use this space. Our staff are on hand to give you guidance on your area of research. They can also help you search the IWM collection through our online catalogue and access a variety of websites and e-resources.

Opening times:

Monday – Friday 11am – 1pm, 2pm – 4pm (closed on Bank Holidays)

Christmas and New Year: Explore History will be closed on Friday 22nd December and re-open on Wednesday 27th December 2017. It will be closed on Monday 1st January 2018.
 

Centenary Partnership

Find out about the international programme to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Research Blog

Find out about what research is currently being undertaken at IWM.

Support Us

IWM is a charity, and we depend on supporters like you to help us care for and display our exceptional collections. Please donate today.