Access our collections for research

Find out how you can access items in our collections at the Caird Library, National Maritime Museum. We offer a world-class resource for studying maritime history, astronomy and time.

The collections are available to anyone interested in maritime history and can be accessed for free online or in person, you just need to register for a Reader's Ticket online in advance of your visit.

Search the collections

Register for a Reader's Ticket

To use the Caird Library and Archive you must register for a Reader's Ticket, and bring along two forms of accepted ID on the day. Registration can be completed in advance online, or at the museum.

Register now

Caird Library visitor information

Help and guidance

There is a team of professional librarians and archivists who are available to help and advise readers at all times. If you are not able to visit the Caird Library and Archive, staff are happy to answer enquiries by telephone, email and letter about items in our collection and can offer up to 15 minutes of free research time.

Online order forms

Masters & mates certificates order form

Crew lists order form

Delivery schedules from museum stores

Please note: many original documents, manuscripts, rare books, atlases, maps, sea charts, prints, drawings and periodicals are not available to see via open access and must be requested.

The delivery schedule for items stored at the museum and off site are listed below:

  • museum stores Monday to Friday - seven deliveries per day
  • museum stores Saturday - three deliveries
  • off site stores - one delivery per week (requires eight days notice)

Note: Some items stored off site can only be viewed by appointment, including some prints and drawings.

Request an item for research

  • Register for a three-year Reader’s Ticket using the Aeon Caird Library and Archive Ordering System
  • Search our online collections to find the items you wish to request
  • Click the Place order button on the item profile page to add it to your request list (the Aeon login screen will appear the first time you do this)
  • View and check the items you have requested, and repeat the process as required
  • Select the date and time you wish to access requested items at the museum
  • When you’ve finished your order, click Submit request

Register for a Reader's Ticket and request items to see

Note: On the day of your study visit you must bring along two forms of accepted ID.

Request and delivery times

Delivery times for items available in store at the museum is around 40 minutes, but for some items it can be longer. We receive one delivery per week for items stored off site.

Items stored at the Museum

  • if you would like an item to be available to study when the Library opens at 10.00 you must request it by 15.30 the day before (Note: to study an item on Monday you must request it on Friday)
  • requests for prints, drawings, sea charts and maps must be submitted by 12.30 the day before note prints and drawings are not available for study on Saturday)
  • to request books, journals and periodicals for study on the same day (Monday to Friday), we recommend you place your order as early as possible. The latest you can submit a request for study on the same day is 15.30.
  • to request books, journals and periodicals for study on the same day (Saturday), we recommend you order it as early as possible on the day. The latest you can submit a request for study on the same day is 14.30.

Items stored off site

To request items stored off site requires eight days notice.

Note: Some items stored at the museum and off site can only be viewed by appointment, including some sea charts and maps, prints and drawings.

Contact us

If you have any questions or queries about requesting an item from the Caird Library & Archive, contact us.


Tel: +44 (0)20 8312 6516

Access the archive and Library catalogues online

Find out more about the National Maritime Museum Library and Archive collection

View the Archive catalogue in Collections online

View the Library catalogue in Collections online

The collections at Royal Museums Greenwich hold over 2.5 million items, including astronomical and navigational instruments, ship models and plans, coins, medals and flags, uniforms and weapons, plus historical art, film and photography.

Find out more

Our online archives

Find our more about our online archives and where to access them

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