Planning Your Visit

The Tyne & Wear Archives search room is now open. Booking is essential.

Planning your visit

  • Searchroom opening hours are Tuesday - Friday: 10am-12.45pm and 1.15-4pm
  • You’ll need to book a seat in the searchroom before you visit. 
  • Please pre-order the documents you want to see at least seven days before the date of your visit. If you are unsure what you need, speak to a member of staff first or send us an email on
  • You can order a maximum of 10 documents per half day session or 20 documents for a full day. 
  • If you want to use microfilm you will need to book a microfilm desk for your visit.

Our staff will be on hand to help.

How to book

Click here to book your Archive visit.

  • You must book a ticket at least one week in advance of your visit.  
  • You can book your visit up to three weeks in advance. We will release tickets every Monday on a rolling basis.
  • You can tell us what documents you require when you book. The booking form includes space for you to tell us which documents you want to see.  
  • If you aren’t sure which document you need or require advice, please search our online catalogue. You will need to identify the exact items you wish to see. If you can’t locate the items you are interested in please either email or phone us - see contact us.
  • When you book a slot you will need to choose:  

      If you want to use microfilm you will need to book a microfilm desk for your visit.

    •  Morning session (10am - 12.45pm)  
    • Afternoon session (1.15pm - 4pm).  
  • You can book an all-day session by booking both morning and afternoon sessions. We will ask you to leave the searchroom between 12.45pm and 1.15pm to allow us to time to clean desks, equipment and touchpoints.
  • Please book an individual ticket for each member of your group.

We will contact you if there are any issues with your booking.

What you can see

  • We are providing access to original archives, books from the search room reference library, finding aids and microfilms.
  • We currently have no access to computer resources but hope to be resolving this soon. We do have wifi access in the searchroom. 

How to order documents to view

  • Please order your documents at the same time as booking your searchroom visit. 
  • If you aren’t sure which document you need please search our online catalogue. You will need to identify the exact items you wish to see. If you can’t locate the items you are interested in please contact us by email or phone for advice.
  • The booking form allows you to order up to 10 documents per morning or afternoon session. You need to give us the document reference number and the title of each document.

When you arrive

  • We support staff and visitors who would like to continue wearing face coverings in the museum and the archive searchroom, but this is optional.  
  • Please arrive at the start of your booked session.  If you aren’t able to do so please speak to the welcome desk at Discovery Museum and they will let archive staff know you have arrived. If you plan to arrive after the start of the session please give us your expected arrival time when you book.
  • When you arrive you will be directed to the archives waiting area on the ground floor of Discovery Museum. A member of the team will collect you.
  • In the searchroom there are lockers for your belongings. Please place bags, coats and personal belongings in the lockers. You can bring a small quantity of paperwork, notes, pencils, cameras and laptops to your desk. You cannot bring in any food or drink, pens or bags.  
  • Please don’t bring your own hand sanitiser or any liquid into the searchroom.

Searchroom services

  • In the searchroom you will be allocated a desk. 
  • The documents you have ordered will be waiting on your desk. If they don’t all fit at the same time then some will be kept to one side by staff. Please just ask staff when you are ready to see them.  
  • If you need any book supports or document weights please ask search room staff.  
  • If you want to plug a laptop into the mains please ask searchroom staff. Most of our desks have power points nearby.
  • If you know in advance that you plan to use self-service photography then please purchase a camera pass in advance of your visit here.
  • When you have finished with your documents, please let staff know. 
  • We won’t be able to get out any additional documents on the day.
  • If you need to leave the searchroom to use facilities in the museum, please let a member of staff know and they will return you to the public area of the Discovery Museum.

During your visit

Our staff and volunteers are happy to help you adjust to the new way of visiting.  

  • The Turbinia Cafe will be open daily from 10.30am - 3.30pm.  
  • We encourage you to use the hand sanitisers around the venue.  
  • We have increased cleaning in all public areas of the building and especially in areas of high contact.  
  • If you have symptoms or you have tested positive for Covid19 please do not visit the archives searchroom.  

Your support

Help us ensure archives, culture & heritage continue to make a positive impact in our region.  

Donate today to keep culture at the heart of the north east. 

Thank you.