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Archives, Museums and Libraries

12 May 2020

Find out about accessing archive, museum and library collections online for free

Looking for historical information? Missing visiting museums? Even while museums, archives and libraries are closed, you can still get access to their collections virtually. There are lots of free online resources to allow you to do your research or discover something new, weird or wonderful just for fun.

National Archives

  • The National Archives have given free access to their records online while their searchrooms are closed. You can find out more about this on their website: Accessing National Archives online
  • You can access and register for free webinars while the National Archives is closed: Webinars and Events
  • You can listen to the National Archives podcast series ‘On the Record’ for free: 'On the Record' podcast
  • You can take a look at a selection of online exhibitions: Online Exhibitions
  • If you’re looking for some help with your research, there are lots of research guides available: Research Guides
  • If you are researching your family history, take a look at their dedicated guide: Family History Research Guides

British Library

British Museum

Natural History Museum

Science Museum

  • You can browse through the collections of the Science Museum Group’s five sites: Online Collections


Imperial War Museum

Postal Museum

  • Whilst it is shut, you can take a virtual tour of their Mail Rail under the streets of London: Mail Rail Virtual Tour 

Royal Collection Trust

Your local public library:

  • Looking for an e-book to read and relax with? Don’t forget that even while your local public library is closed, they can give you access to a great selection of e-books and e-audiobooks: Find your local library service

Have you discovered any interesting virtual museum tours or interesting online collections? Share them with us on Twitter @ARULibrary 

Topics: Wellbeing