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Dana Research Centre and Library

The Dana Research Centre and Library is a world-class environment for academic research, bringing together the museum’s thriving Research and Public History Department and access to its library and archive collection.

Here you can explore the history and biography of science, technology and medicine and learn more about objects in the museum’s collections.

Opening times

The Dana Research Centre and Library will temporarily close from 2 April until summer 2024. Pre-booked appointments will continue as planned and the digital library remains accessible. If you have any questions, please contact


Contact us

The Dana Research Centre and Library
165 Queen’s Gate

Telephone: 020 7942 4242

Access and Registration

  • To visit the Dana Research Centre and Library, please enter via 165 Queen’s Gate and give your name at the reception desk. Then go down the staircase facing the entrance and turn right through the Library entrance. Library staff at our help desk will welcome you and can help with your queries.
  • If you have limited mobility, access is by lift; please ask for help at the main reception desk when you arrive in the building.
  • The library is all on one floor and there is an accessible toilet at the back of the library.
  • Please leave your belongings and any food and drink in a locker.
  • You must register with the staff to access enhanced services, such as ordering and consulting books and journals over 100 years old, modern rare books, archives, microfilms, museum files and for accessing our electronic resources. You must provide up-to-date photographic proof of your identity and proof of your current address. You will then receive a library card, which you can use to access enhanced services on the library catalogue.

Reader desks

  • There are eighteen reader study tables and seats: twelve in the main reading area, two large desk for consulting special collections and four quiet study tables, each with electrical sockets and task lighting. 
  • There are two desks for PCs to access the Library catalogue, the Archives catalogue and the Library’s Digital Library; one of these PCs is also connected to a digital microfilm reader.  

Open Access Collections

  • Around 6,900 books on museum studies, the history and biography of science, technology and medicine and the philosophical and social aspects of these subjects. These are arranged by classification number and staff can help you find subjects that interest you.
  • The past five years of current journal subscriptions, arranged alphabetically by title. Some journals are available in physical and electronic form but many, including core titles, are only available electronically; please see our Digital Library page for guidance.
  • The open-access collections are security tagged and an alarm will sound if they are removed from the Library.

Other collections

  • Over 99% of our library and archive collections are held on around 26 km of shelving at our Library and Archives at the National Collections Centre, near Swindon in Wiltshire, You will need to order material in advance and staff will inform you when they are likely to be ready, so you can book a seat.
  • If you wish to consult museum corporate or technical files in the library, please email the Freedom of Information team before contacting the library.
  • If you are consulting archives, the library’s special collections, or museum files, staff will provide books supports and book snakes, and they will issue you with gloves that you must use. We also have a light sheet for looking at watermarks.
  • Magnifying glasses are available on request.

Photocopying and printing

  • Any photocopying or photography is subject to copyright restrictions. Please ask for guidance at the help desk before proceeding.
  • You cannot photocopy archives or rare books, but copies may be ordered from our Library and Archives at the National Collections Centre, including copies of large format engineering drawings. Please contact us for more information.

Borrowing books

  • Borrowing is restricted to current Science Museum Group staff, accredited researchers and volunteers, and Imperial College staff and postgraduate students. Please ask library staff how many volumes you may borrow when you register.

Other facilities

  • There is an accessible toilet on the ground floor and further toilets are available on the mezzanine floor above.
  • You may only drink bottled water in the reading room. A water fountain is available.
  • Wi-Fi is freely accessible.

Group Visits 

  • Please contact us in advance if you would like to bring a group to use the library. We can arrange a display of items from our collections, and these can be focused on a specific subject.