Before your visit
When is the Archive and Research Room open?

The Archive and Research Room at IWM London will open to the public from 19th May on Wednesdays and Thursdays only. We will review our opening days in line with the Museum’s plans and with guidance from Government and Public Health England.

What are the Archive and Research Room opening hours?

The Archive and Research Room at IWM London will open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 3 pm with the last admission at 2:30 pm.

Do I need to make a booking before I visit the Archive and Research Room?

At present, and due to social distancing measures in place as a result of Covid-19, we can only provide access to six researchers at a time. Therefore, booking is essential to ensure we can provide you with a study space in the Archive and Research Room and reserve items for you to consult during your visit.

How do I book an appointment?

You can book an appointment to visit the Archive and Research Room by emailing us to this address: [email protected]. In addition, you need to pre-book a general visitor’s ticket for the Museum using this link.

How long does my appointment last?

Appointments are not timed, but it would be helpful to indicate whether you are hoping to come in the morning, the afternoon or for the whole day.

How many appointments can I book?

At present we do not have a limit on how many appointments you can make. You can place an Archive and Research Room appointment for more than one day by stating this in your email.

How far in advance do I need to book an appointment?

Due to the current Covid-19 situation and the required quarantining period, we ask researchers to book an appointment at least seven days in advance.

Do I have to pre-order the material I want to see?

Yes, we ask researchers to place any requests for material at least seven days in advance when they book an appointment to visit the Archive and Research Room. This is due to the current Covid-19 situation and to the required quarantining period required for items from the collections.

How many items can I request?

You can order up to five items per visit.

How do I request material for my visit?

Before you request material for your visit please visit our Online Catalogue, to identify what you would like to see. Once you have done that please indicate in your email the items you would like to see and quote the reference number that appears in our catalogue.

I am not sure what I want to see, are you able to help?

If you are unsure about what you want to see we advise you to get in contact with us by emailing [email protected]. Staff will be able to advise on how to use our catalogues and items that may be useful for your research.

Can I visit if I do not order any items?

During this time and considering our study space and opening hours are more limited than normal, we are unable to provide quiet study space in the Archive and Research Room as our priority is to enable access to items from the collections to researchers. We will continue to monitor and review the situation in line with the Museum’s plans, and guidance from the Government and Public Health England.

Is there any material that cannot be accessed at the moment?

At present we are unable to provide access to microfilm or to the War Artists’ Archive. We will continue to monitor and review the situation in line with the Museum’s plans, and guidance from the Government and Public Health England.

Can I bring other people with me?

At present we are unable to take in group bookings. We will continue to monitor and review the situation in line with the Museum’s plans, and guidance from government and Public Health England.

I cannot currently visit the Archive and Research Room. Is it possible to order copies of items from the collection?

Many items in the collection have been digitised and you can access them via Collections Online. If you are undertaking commercial film research you can visit IWM Film. We can also provide you with copies of material which has not been digitised or for which you require a particular resolution. For more information please use this link.

On the day of your visit
What happens if I am running late for my appointment?

If you are running late for your appointment, we will still keep it for you, but please note that last admission is at 2:30 pm.

What happens if I arrive early for my appointment?

If you arrive before 10 am you will be able to enjoy the outdoor space surrounding the Museum, but you will not be able to enter the Museum until the Archive and Research Room opens at 10 am. If your appointment is after 10 am and you arrive earlier, you can still visit the Museum but make sure to make your way to the Archive and Research Room on time.

What do I do if I need to cancel or re-arrange my appointment?

If you need to cancel or re-arrange your appointment please email us at [email protected].

When in IWM Archive & Research Room
Can I access your catalogue during my visit?

Yes, you can access our catalogue from any personal device you bring with you such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. There is free public WiFi access available to our visitors. However, access to the e-resources and databases we subscribe to is only possible from one of the pre-booked terminals in the Archive and Research Room.

Do you allow self-copying in the Archive and Research Room?

Yes, you can take digital photographs with a personal camera for personal non-commercial uses and other ‘fair dealing’ copying purposes. You can buy a permit from the Information Desk on Level 0 between 10 am and 2:30 pm. The price of a permit will be £10 per camera per day. Photography may not be allowed in some cases if the item can be damaged or in cases where no copying in any form is permitted.

Do I need to wear a face covering and gloves?

Government guidelines have made face coverings mandatory in most closed public spaces. We would ask that you wear a face mask when visiting the Museum and the Archive and Research Room, unless you are exempt. We only ask researchers to wear gloves in certain instances for preservation reasons and staff can advise on these.

Can I use hand sanitiser in the Library?

Sanitiser is available throughout the Museum; however, we ask researchers to wash and dry their hands before handling any items from the collection. This is to minimise our collections’ exposure to the chemicals in hand sanitiser.

What happens if I have not finished viewing all the material I have requested on the day?

We can keep material on reserve for you and we would be grateful if at the end of your visit you could let us know whether you would like us to do so.

What other steps are you taking to keep visitors safe?

We have introduced an enhanced cleaning routine and social distancing measures are in place. We regularly clean surfaces which are likely to be touched by many people. In addition, we will have the air conditioning system on, and we ask visitors to bring an extra layer of clothing to keep warm as the temperatures may be lower than usual. At this time our lockers are not available, and we ask that you leave your umbrella outside the Archive and Research Room and only bring what is absolutely necessary for your visit. Transparent plastic boxes will be available in the room to leave your belongings.

Other useful information for your visit
Can I access the toilets during my visit?

Toilets will be available in the Museum, but they will operate at limited capacity so sometimes there may be a queue. We ask visitors to wash and dry their hands before they come in the Archive and Research Room.

What facilities are available for breaks and refreshments?

It is possible to purchase food and refreshments from the Museum café. There are also local food outlets near Lambeth Road and adjacent streets where you can purchase food and drink. Please note that food and drink are not permitted in the Archive and Research Room.

Can I visit the rest of the Museum during my visit?

It is possible for you to visit the Museum during your visit, since you need to pre-book a Museum ticket in order to access the Archive and Research Room.

Getting in touch

If you have a question about visiting the IWM Archive and Research Room which isn’t answered by this document, please email us at [email protected].

Our Opening Hours

The Archive and Research Room will be open two days a week (Wednesday and Thursday), between 10am and 3pm.