Visit the Maritime Archives and Library

man looking at a book, surrounded by shelves of more books

Entry to and use of the archives and library is free.

Temporary closure

The Maritime Archives and Library is closed to the public and will not reopen until Monday 30 March 2020 at 10.30am, due to the closure of the second floor of Merseyside Maritime Museum as we prepare the new Life on board gallery.

Staff can be contacted via email and telephone during the closure period but will only have limited access to collections.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Opening hours

The Maritime Archives and Library is open on Mondays and Tuesdays, 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30-4.30pm. We are closed on Bank Holidays. 

Where are we

We are on the second floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, close to the stairs and lift. The search room is accessible for wheelchair users. Directions to the museum are available from the Your visit section .

Reserve store location

Our reserve store is open by prior appointment at certain times. Please contact us for current information on access.

What to bring with you

You will need a lead (graphite) pencil and paper for making notes. You may be permitted to take photocopies of some documents; there will be a small change for this. Use of your own handheld digital camera, without flash, may be permitted on request. You will also be required to complete either a ‘Photography with own camera’ or a ‘Photocopying assessment form’.

Search room rules

We request that visitors to the archive and library observe our search room rules, which include:

  • Put all coats, bags, handbags etc in one of the lockers provided, as they are not allowed into the search room. There is a £1 refundable charge.
  • Sign the Search Room Register on the desk in the search room.
  • Food and drink are not allowed in the search room.
  • Please use only battery operated laptops, tablets and digital cameras as we cannot provide mains charging.
  • Treat the facilities and other visitors with respect. This is a space for private research and study; please keep conversations to a minimum and use mobile phones in the entrance area or gallery space only.
  • Archive documents will be produced on completion of a blue Document Request Slip.
  • Please be aware that only three items are issued to visitors at any one time to avoid any archives documents being misfiled into the wrong folder. Staff will hold additional documents and folders on a trolley.

Handling archives

  • Use only a lead (graphite) pencil while making notes. Pens and coloured pencils may not be used to avoid permanently damaging archive documents.
  • Please use the supports to help preserve the archive documents and bound volumes.
  • Avoid leaning on any archive documents or bound volumes.


  • Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the building.
  • Limited access to Adam Matthew Digital, a primary source database. Our records have contributed to this resource and we are able to provide free access to the following collections. (Please note this is accessed via public computers in the search room and the Wi-Fi in the Merseyside Maritime Museum building):
  • Microfilm/fiche reader printers available, please book in advance where possible.
  • Desktop computers with internet access and access to our photographic, postcard, plan and library databases, along with our Pilot’s database.
  • Photocopier.
  • Limited photographic/plan reprographic service via the Photography department; please see the Photography web pages for further information.
  • Light box for viewing collection items such as negatives and transparencies.