Accessing our collections for research

Find out how you can access the collections at Royal Museums Greenwich. We offer a world-class resource for studying maritime history, astronomy and time.

Our unique, globally significant collections comprise over 2.5 million items, including astronomical and navigational instruments, manuscripts, ship models, ship plans, coins, medals, flags, rare books, fine and decorative art, uniforms and weapons. We provide access to these collections in many ways – through our exhibitions and galleries, our library and archive, through activities and events and also online.

We receive thousands of enquiries each year so staff are only able to respond to those which relate to objects in our collections. We recommend using the library or our online catalogues for any information on our collections.

The Caird Library and Archive collections

The Caird Archive and Library is a world class resource for researching our subject areas including:

  • Maritime and global history
  • Navigation
  • Astronomy 
  • Time

It is free to access you just need to register in advance for a reader’s ticket and provide the necessary identification.  Find out more about the Caird Library

Digitised collections

We provide online and digital access to an increasing amount of material in the collections. Find out more about our online archives and collections

Ship plans and photographic collections

  • If your research or enquiry relates to our large collections of ship plans and photographs Collections Online has specific sections for both.
  • If you cannot find what you are looking for or wish to access these collections please email plansandphotographs@rmg.co.uk. Please note they are not available via the Caird Library and Archive.

Object collections

If you want to view an object that is not currently on display as part of your research please contact the Collections Storage and Access Team at collectionaccess@rmg.co.uk

Enquiries

Unfortunately because of the number of enquiries we receive we are unable to carry out research on your behalf.  If you have a specific enquiry relating to an item in our collections and cannot find the information you need on Collections Online please email our curators at research@rmg.co.uk .

Please note

  • We are not obliged to answer enquiries that do not relate to items in our collections. You may not get a response if your enquiry does not relate to our collection  items.
  • We aim to respond to all enquiries within 20 days.

If your enquiry does require in depth research we do have a list of independent researchers who have left their names with us and may be able to carry our research on your behalf. Please note that the Museum does not formally endorse these researchers and that they will require payment for any work undertaken. See more about independant research