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Research and archive

Due to COVID-19, Search Engine is closed to the public until Thursday 5 November, when it will reopen for pre-booked appointments on Thursdays to Saturdays. Please contact us via email to book an appointment.

Find out more about our reopening.

During this challenging period, our priority has been to care for the collection and prepare to safely reopen our museums to the public. Our team continue to work through the complexities and practicalities of safely operating Search Engine with social distancing measures in place, including introducing the ability for you to pre-book appointments online.   

Our collection⁠—and the inspirational stories it contains⁠—remains open online. You can find further information about the archives we care for via our online collection, the archive catalogue, the Science Museum library catalogue and the National Railway Museum library catalogue

We offer a free enquiry service to help you find out more about the items in the Science Museum Group Collection. Please contact us via We normally aim to respond to enquiries within 20 working days, however responses may take longer at the moment due to COVID-19.  

We are currently working to resume our copy service. Please find further details on our copying and copyright page.

Whatever you're interested in, from engineering and industry to the social history of railways, our research and archive facilities are here to help.

If you're looking for more information about a particular area of railway history and engineering, Search Engine is the place for you.

Find out how to plan a research visit.

Science Museum Group Journal

The Science Museum Group Journal presents the global research community with peer-reviewed papers relevant to the wide-ranging work of the Science Museum Group. The journal freely shares the research of the Group's museums, including the National Railway Museum.