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Access to our collection

From robots to lancets, telescopes to tractors—the Science Museum Group Collection holds a world-class breadth of historical objects that chart the transformation of our world.

Research Online

Our collection⁠—and the inspirational stories it contains⁠—is also open to you online. 

You can find further information about the objects, archives and library we care for through our online collection, the SMGarchive catalogue, the Science Museum library catalogue and the National Railway Museum library catalogue. 

Viewing objects at the National Collections Centre

At least four weeks’ notice is required in order to support a research visit to view the Science Museum Group Collection whether in-person or virtually. To request a visit, please use our enquiry form. Please be aware that it will not be possible to provide access to additional objects on the day of your visit, so do ensure that all this information is shared in advance.

Sometimes it will not be possible to arrange a visit as requested due to the nature of the object’s condition or its location—many of our objects travel around the world to inspire visitors. The Collections Access team will endeavour to find alternative routes to support your research questions where possible.

Many of our objects also have a paper file of related information, please tell us if you would like to look at this and we will make it available.

Accessing library and archive material at the National Collections Centre

The National Collections Centre is also home to the Science Museum’s world-class Library and Archive collection of over half a million items. The original printed works chart the worldwide development and history of science, engineering, and medicine since the fifteenth century.

You can use our enquiry form to request a visit to view our material at our collections management facility.