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Research the collection

Due to Covid-19, Insight: Collections and Research Centre is temporarily closed. The next opening dates are 15–18 December, and you must book in advance to visit.

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

While Insight is temporarily closed, our collection⁠—and the inspirational stories it contains⁠—remains open to you online. You can find further information about the archives we care for below, and you can explore further via Collection Online, 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 items in the Science Museum Group Collection. Please contact us at We would normally aim to respond to enquiries within 20 working days; however, responses may take longer at the moment due to Covid-19.

Whether your research is academic, professional or personal, everyone is welcome to make an appointment to visit Insight, our research centre.

At Insight: Collections and Research Centre, you can discover our collection and make use of our extensive research library. Study prints by some of the world’s greatest photographers; examine apparatus that illuminates the history and development of sound and vision technologies; and access many specialist publications and journals.

In our collection


Visitors to Insight have access to the following facilities:

  • Three print rooms housing over 3 million photographs
  • Three stores containing thousands of collection objects
  • A reference library housing an extensive collection of books, periodicals, journals and trade literature
  • A purpose-built reading room with reader tables, power sockets and free WiFi

There is also a space suitable for larger research groups, the Kraszna-Krausz Room, which can be booked on request.

Available dates and making an appointment

Insight is open by appointment during Research Week, which falls on the third week of each month—the full list of confirmed dates is below. Opening hours on these dates are 10.30–12.45 and 13.45–16.00, Tuesday to Friday.

It’s free to visit Insight, but you must book in advance. To make an appointment, contact us by email at