How do researchers book a visit?

Research visitors are only admitted by prior appointment.

Booking a visit

To book a visit:

1. Contact the appropriate collections team. If you wish to visit the Library and Archives, please read the guidance on how to use their services before contacting them.

2. Agree on a mutually convenient time to access the collections or facilities.

3. You may be required to provide a statement of intent and confirmation of institutional affiliation before your visit is authorised.

4. Visitors are asked to observe the rules and regulations for accessing the collections DOC (33KB) when organising a visit to the collections.

How long before researchers can visit?

In some areas demand for access is extremely high, and research scientists and students who wish to work in the collections many need to apply at least two months before any anticipated visit.

This enables us to:

  • take into account allocation of space and resources by the department
  • allow enough time to process forms for identification credentials
  • enable the arrangement of Library and Archives access, stipends and email
  • ensure appropriate scientific staff will be available during the visit
  • ensure adequate laboratory space and equipment are available
  • allow us to advise you of any charges relating to facility fees
  • coordinate with other departments


Appointments are provided on an individual basis. Due to high demand there may be a waiting list for access for research purposes.

Appointments are granted with the understanding that visitors will attend on the dates they are booked in.

Please inform us promptly if you no longer require your booking (or part of it) so that we can provide access to others.

Response times

The Museum receives large numbers of requests to uses its collections. We aim to respond to each request as quickly as possible, but please bear with us. You should receive an acknowledgement (this may be an automated acknowledgement) within five working days and a reply within three working weeks.

Travel arrangements

Do not make travel arrangements until we have confirmed the dates of your visit, that the items you wish to view or equipment you wish to use are available, and any facility fees.

How to visit multiple collections

Visitors wishing to visit more than one collections area (eg Fish Collections and Library) should make appropriate prior arrangements with each section. Ensure that your hosts are aware that you plan to do this so that your visit can be coordinated to make efficient use of your time.

How to visit multiple departments

If you wish to visit other departments eg Library and Archives make prior arrangements and ensure that your hosts are aware of your plan. This way your visit can be coordinated to make efficient use of your time.

If you require access to our laboratories and/or equipment, please then contact them to check availability and pricing.

Visitor hosting fees

The Museum may charge visitor hosting fees which reflect, among other things, bench space and staff time related to your visit.

The Museum also charges for some use of the collections including commercial use. There may be charges applicable to your visit - your host will be able to advise of these.

Access to specialist laboratories and use of equipment are normally chargeable and bookable in advance.

Please contact to check availability and pricing.


Visitors may not admit family members, partners, friends, colleagues or other guests into the back-of-house areas during their visit without prior consultation with their host. Visitors may not bring children (this includes anyone under the age of 18) into the collections or laboratories.

Rules and regulations for accessing the collections

The Museum's collections are of worldwide significance. To help us ensure we can preserve the them as a scientific resource for future generations we ask visitors to observe these rules when

  • organising a visit to the collections
  • visiting our collections and core research laboratories
  • corresponding with staff after the visit.

Download the Rules and regulations for accessing the collections DOC (33KB).

Collection staff

To contact the appropriate collections team search the Staff directory

Collection contacts

If you cannot find the right person to contact in the staff directory or from the individual collection pages, please use the links below:

Life Sciences Collections

Library and Archives

Core Research Laboratories