The museum archive manages IWM’s own administrative records, which date back to its foundation in 1917. They are public records and researchers may search some of the records online or book an appointment at the IWM London Research Room to consult these records.

IWM's records cover all aspects of the work of IWM, including:

  • The development of IWM's Collections
  • The planning and design of exhibitions
  • The history of the IWM London's building at Lambeth Road
  • The acquisition of IWM’s four branches: IWM North, Churchill War Rooms, IWM Duxford and HMS Belfast
  • Press, publicity and publications, including past guidebooks
  • General policy, operation and activities

Read an outline history of IWM

There is an ongoing programme of cataloguing. At present the following collections are available to search:

  • EN1: IWM central records from 1917-1939
  • EN2: IWM central records from 1939-1960

Later material, including publicity material and IWM’s modern Exhibition Archive, is available on request. 

IWM's records are generally available for research. However, those containing personal information may have access restrictions in line with the Data Protection Act. Other, more recent, material may be subject to exemptions outlined in the Freedom of Information Act.