Opening times

The Research Room is open five days a week.

On Tuesdays to Fridays, we have 15 spaces for individual researchers to view up to 10 items each per day.

Mondays are reserved for appointments to view objects or artwork. We can accommodate up to four researchers, and requests are subject to availability. 

To arrange a Monday object viewing contact us

Open Close


Objects viewing appointments only

10 am 4:30 pm


10 am 4:30 pm


10 am 4:30 pm


10 am 4:30 pm


10 am 4:30 pm

Research facilities

IWM 's Research Room is located on the 2nd floor of IWM London in Lambeth Road. Before you plan your visit please see our Getting Here page.

Our research facilities provide access to a treasure trove of original documents, sound recordings, photographs, and IWM's administrative archive records. These collections chart the causes, course and consequences of war and conflict in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in Britain and the Commonwealth, and illustrate personal experiences of those caught up in conflict.

Our Library collection consists of over150,000 items covering twentieth and twenty-first century conflict involving British and Commonwealth countries. Along with material on military units and campaign histories, we have biographies, manuals, items relating to the economic, social and cultural aspects of war, journals, newspapers, ephemera, propaganda and e-resources. 

Part of the IWM Institute

IWM Institute is IWM’s research and knowledge exchange hub. We provide access to IWM’s rich collections for research and innovation to increase the public’s understanding of war and conflict

Plan your visit

  • Book your appointment and request materials

    Book your appointment and place your request for material at least seven days in advance of your planned visit. 

    Please note there will be no access to photograph storage at the Research Room from 15 April to 20 May 2024. 

  • Read the guidelines and FAQs

    We have prepared a detailed guide to visiting the IWM Research Room and our facilities, in addition to our Frequently Asked Questions. Please read them ahead of your visit.

Please note we are unable to accept group bookings at this time.

Access to IWM Collections Online

A soldier of 3 Battalion, Parachute Regiment silhouetted against the sunset at Windy Gap.© IWM FKD 2750
© IWM FKD 2750

Before booking a visit to the Archive and Research Room, you are encouraged to visit Collections Online, as many items have been digitised and can be viewed online rather than in person.

Collections Online provides details about items that can be of use to your research.

Watch our video guides and tips about how to search Collections Online


A person who works for IWM cleaning models of dazzle ships in 1926.
©IWM (Q 45234)

Collections online

Explore over 1 million items from IWM's collections that tell the story of war and conflict.

British soldiers and their families standing in front of a plane during the Berlin Blockade 1949
© IWM (BER 49-144-024)

Tracing your Family History

The extensive collections of the Imperial War Museums reflect people from all walks of life. This makes us a practical resource to help put the wartime experiences of your relatives into context. Our expert staff have put together these useful guides to help you start your research into your family history, explaining what records you will need and where to find them.

IWM Institute launch panel

IWM Institute

IWM Institute is IWM's research and knowledge exchange hub, dedicated to experimenting with new ways of deepening public understanding of war and conflict.