Please take the time to read these guidelines, we appreciate your co-operation: You can download them as a PDF here.

  • We’re still asking all visitors to wear a face covering while they’re in the Archive and Research Room, unless you are exempt, especially when speaking with staff and other users. Please note that the facility is a much more confined space than other parts of the Museum and therefore it is more difficult to keep social distance. For this reason, the small act of wearing a face mask will keep you and others safe.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the Museum. However, we would prefer you to use soap and water where at all possible, to minimise our collections’ exposure to the chemicals in hand sanitiser.
  • Please ensure that your hands are completely dry before they touch the documents and that you handle the documents by the edges. Please do not bring any hand sanitiser into the Archive and Research Room.
  • To ensure that researchers and staff are as protected as possible the air conditioning system will be switched on. Please bring in additional layers as it will be cold.
  • The Museum lockers outside the Archive and Research Room will be in use so please leave your belongings there before entering the room. You will need a £1 coin to operate them.
  • Umbrellas can be left in the holder outside the Archive and Research Room.
  • Please bring your own supply of paper, pencils, and pencil sharpeners. Laptops and cameras are allowed.
  • Please follow staff advice on issuing and return of material. If another researcher is at the staff desk, please wait until they have finished before you approach it.
  • We ask you to minimise moving around the room as much as possible and to refrain from chatting with other readers.
  • You can pick up weights (glass and snakes), paper markers and cushions. The Librarian will show you where these are. They must be returned to the Librarian at the end of the session.
  • If you wish to access any of the books from the Research Room shelves, please take them to your desk. If you wish to use them the next day, please return them to the Librarian and let them know you wish to reserve the items. Otherwise return any books used to the Librarian and state that you have finished with them.
  • We do ask that if you or a member of your household has any of the COVID-19 symptoms you cancel your appointment and delay it until the recommended quarantine period is over to help us protect our staff and visitors.
  • We are very excited to welcome visitors back to the Research and Archive Room, but it will take us all some time to become accustomed to this new way of working, so please be patient and polite to our staff.
  • Please note that we will continue to regularly review the public health situation and our risk assessment, and might need to cancel bookings at short notice to protect staff and researchers.
  • Self-photography with a personal camera for personal non-commercial uses and other ‘fair-dealing’ copying purposes is permitted. You can buy a permit (£10 per camera per day) from the Information Desk on Level 0 between 10 am and 2:30 pm.


IWM Collections Access and Research November 2021


Guidelines for handling the collections in the Archive and Research Room

Guidelines for handling the collections in the Archive and Research Room

We have created this video to guide you in the safe handling and use of different items from our collections in the Archive and Research Room at IWM London.

Most of our material is rare and fragile and needs to be handled with care to ensure it is preserved for future generations of researchers.

If you are unsure about how to handle any items in our collections, please ask staff in the Archive and Research Room for help.