Study rooms

In addition to over 60,000 objects on display in the Museum, the V&A also has a number of study rooms, both on and off-site, where it is possible to view over 2 million objects from the Reference Collections and to conduct private research. Find out more about our study rooms and how you can access them.

Study rooms at the V&A

  • National Art Library
  • Prints and Drawings Study Room
  • RIBA Architecture Study Room
  • Ceramics Study Room

Study rooms at Blythe House, Olympia, West London

  • Clothworkers' Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion
  • Archive and Library Study Room
 National Art Library

National Art Library

The National Art Library (NAL), located on Level 2, V&A, South Kensington is a major public reference library, open to all visitors. The collection covers the fine and decorative arts, design and art history and contains books, periodicals, auction sale catalogues, exhibition catalogues, electronic resources and other formats of material. Amongst the many treasures are artists' books, illustrated books, fine bindings and rare and unique manuscripts.

Prints and Drawings Study Room

Prints and Drawings Study Room

The Prints and Drawings Study Room is closed from 15 – 30 August, reopening on Wednesday 31 August 2022.

Visitors can study and enjoy over 750,000 objects not on display in the galleries, including designs, fine art prints, watercolours, old master drawings, photographs, commercial graphics, greetings cards, playing cards, fashion plates, posters, wallpapers and much more!

Some items that are light-sensitive and fragile can only be viewed under certain conditions and by special appointment.

Opening times

Individuals: Wednesdays, 10.00 – 13.00 and 14.00 – 17.00
Groups (Max 10): Thursdays 10.00 – 13.00 and 14.00 – 17.00

Location

Prints and Drawings Study Room, Level 3, V&A South Kensington

Viewing objects is by appointment only

To book an appointment, please email: prints.drawings@vam.ac.uk with a confirmation of the objects you would like to view.

You can request up to five objects to view in a single visit. Please supply the accession number and collection location of the object(s) when booking your appointment. This information can be found in an individual’s object record in Explore the Collections.

Collection Selection Boxes

You can also request up to five Collection Selection Boxes for individual study or group teaching. These contain original prints, drawings and photographs that introduce a particular period, style, material, or technique.

Disability access

Royal Photographic Society (RPS) collection

We are currently cataloguing the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) collection, which was transferred to the V&A from the Science Museum Group in April 2018. As we progress, you will be able to see the records for individual objects appearing on Explore the Collections.

Cataloguing the entire collection will take a few years and so we are sharing our working lists of the contents of each box of photographic prints and glass-based photographic material. These lists provide an overview of the collection contents and will help researchers in arranging to view objects.

RIBA Architecture Study Room

RIBA Architecture Study Room

The Architecture Study Rooms will be closed from 1 – 30 August, reopening on Wednesday 31 August 2022.

The V&A and RIBA work in partnership to provide access to the world's most comprehensive architectural resource. The collection includes over 1 million drawings, 1.5 million photographs and 1.5 million archives, including architectural diaries, travel journals, letters, notebooks, essays, papers and office archives.

Find out more about the V&A + RIBA Collections

Location

Access

Access is by appointment only.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7307 3708
Email: drawingsandarchives@riba.org

Disability access

Find out about access to and facilities for people with disabilities in the RIBA Architecture Study Room and our other study rooms.

Ceramics Study Room

Ceramics Study Room

The Ceramics Study Room allows you to view up close the objects on display in Rooms 136 to 139. Click on the links below to view objects that can be found in these galleries.

Location

Opening times

Monday – Friday, 10.00 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00

Access

Access is by appointment only.

Tel: +44( 0)20 7942 2317 (Western ceramics)
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2322 (Asian ceramics)
Email: ceramicsstudyroom@vam.ac.uk

Please note that appointments are subject to availability and the suitability of the objects to be shown in this manner.

Clothworkers' Centre for the study and conservation of textiles and fashion

Clothworkers' Centre for the study and conservation of textiles and fashion

The Clothworkers' Centre is currently closed and will reopen at the new V&A East Storehouse in 2024. The Clothworkers' Centre provides access to the Museum's outstanding collection of textiles, fashion and costume. The collections include over 1040,000 objects, ranging from tiny fragments of Egyptian textiles to large tapestries and carpets, from accessories and underwear to intricately embroidered 18th-century court dresses.

The Archive and Library Study Room

The Archive and Library Study Room

We are currently working to relocate all our archive collections. Access is not available until 2024 when we will be opening the new V&A East Storehouse in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Separate arrangements are being made for access to the V&A Archive, which houses the historical records of the museum, at V&A South Kensington.

The Archive and Library Study Room contains material related to four V&A archives:

  • Archive of Art and Design - Contains the archives of individuals, associations and companies involved in any stage of the art and design process.
  • V&A Archive - The institutional archives of the V&A and its predecessor organisations date from 1837 to the present day, providing a rich resource for the study of the history and influence of the Museum.
  • Theatre and Performance Archive - Includes extensive archives from performing arts companies and other organisations, as well as from individuals such as performers, stage designers and private collectors.
  • Beatrix Potter Collections - The V&A holds the world's largest collection of Beatrix Potter's drawings, watercolours, literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and related materials.

Location

We are currently working to relocate all our archive collections. Access is not available until 2024 when we will be opening the new V&A East Storehouse in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Separate arrangements are being made for access to the V&A Archive, which houses the historical records of the museum, at V&A South Kensington.