Planning Your Visit

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

Planning your visit

We are excited to welcome you back and we want to make your visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.  This means there will be some changes to the way you visit. 

  • Searchroom opening hours are Tuesday - Friday: 10am-12.45pm and 1.15-4pm. The lunchtime closure is to allow us time to clean desks, equipment and touchpoints. 
  • The searchroom has temporarily been re-located to another room on the ground floor of Discovery Museum to improve access and enable social distancing.  
  • You’ll need to book a seat in the searchroom before you visit. There will be fewer spaces available to enable social distancing. 
  • 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. 
  • You can order a maximum of 10 documents per half day session or 20 documents for a full day. 
  • There is no access to microfilm or computer resources
  • Please wear a face covering throughout your visit. 
  • Please follow the one-way route around Discovery Museum during your visit. 

Our staff will be on hand to help.  

Why have we introduced these changes? 

  • We will quarantine the documents you order before and after you use them.
  • We've increased cleaning and recommend you use the hand sanitiser stations. 

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. 
  • We will quarantine the documents you order before and after you use them. 
  • 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 book a 10 minute phone consultation with one of our archive service assistants to discuss the items you want to see. Book a phone consultation here.
  • When you book a slot you will need to choose:  

o   Morning session (10am - 12.45pm)  

o   Afternoon session (1.15pm - 4pm).  

o   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 to confirm your booking. Please don’t make travel plans until we have contacted you to confirm that the document(s) you have asked to see are available and not being quarantined or used by another visitor. 

What you can see

  • We are providing access to original archives, books from the search room reference library and finding aids. 
  • There will be no access to microfilm or computer resources. If you want to view a source on microfilm and we hold the original document, we will provide the original document for you to look at.  If the document is in a poor condition and will be damaged by handling, you will not be able to view it. 
  •  We are reviewing our microfilm and computer services and hope to provide access soon.  


    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 or require advice, please book a 10 minute phone consultation with one of our archive service assistants to discuss the items you want to see. Book a phone consultation here.
    • 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.
    • If you don’t know the document reference you will need to search an online catalogue. Unfortunately, the Tyne & Wear Archives online online catalogue is currently unavailable for maintenance.  
    • However - information on our collections can be found as part of The National Archives Discovery catalogue hereWhen you complete the search form you should select ‘held at - other archives only’. You will then be able to narrow your search down to Tyne & Wear Archives.  
    • Staff cannot consult documents for you during the phone call but they can search the catalogue and advise you on the best archives to help with your research. 

    When you arrive

    • Please arrive at the start of your booked session.  
    • Please check in at the front desk of Discovery Museum. Archive staff will collect you and escort you to the archives search room.  
    • If you arrive later or are booked for an afternoon session, please check in at the front desk of Discovery Museum. You will be directed to the Archives waiting area on the ground floor or Discovery Museum. A member of the team will collect you. Please observe social distancing in the waiting area.  
    • In the lobby outside 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 into the searchroom. You cannot bring in any food or drink, pens or bags.  
    • Hand sanitiser is available outside the searchroom – please use it before you enter the room.  Please don’t bring your own hand sanitiser or any liquid into the searchroom.  
    • NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response. By maintaining records of our visitors (name and contact number), and sharing these with NHS Test and Trace if requested, we can help to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus. We will only hold your test and trace data for the required 21 days. 

    Searchroom services

    • In the searchroom you will be allocated a desk.  All of our desks have perspex shields to help keep you and our staff safe. The desk will be cleaned between sessions. Please don’t use any other desks.  
    • 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. 
    • 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 as we are following guidelines to quarantine documents. We hope to be able to reduce the quarantine time period shortly.  
    • Any book support or weight you have used will go in the ‘used’ bucket so they can be quarantined.  
    • 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.  
    • The windows in our searchroom will be open for ventilation.

    During your visit

    Please follow government advice around social distancing when you visit and follow the one-way route around the venue.  

    Please read the new signs providing guidance,. Our staff and volunteers are happy to help you adjust to the new way of visiting.  

    • Our staff will greet you at a distance. They will be wearing facemasks. 
    • The Turbinia Cafe will be open daily from 10.30am - 3.30pm.  
    • If possible, please use contactless payment when visiting.  
    • 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 any of the symptoms of coronavirus, or if you have been in contact with anyone that has the virus in the last 14 days, please don’t visit.  

    Your support

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

    Donate £5 today to keep culture at the heart of the North East. 

    Thank you.