The new research centre will be based at the Science Museum

Science Museum Library to close for 18 months

Geraldine Kendall, 19.02.2014
New research centre will open at museum in 2015
The Science Museum has closed its library and reading room on the Imperial College London campus ahead of the development of a new research centre at the South Kensington museum next year.

The Science Museum Library shut its doors earlier this month and its collections have been relocated to the museum's library and holding facility in Wroughton, Wiltshire, until the new research centre opens in the autumn of 2015.

Wroughton Library & Archives is also closed while the London collections are incorporated into the site and will reopen from 29 April 2014 with limited public services.

Until the new centre is opened, the relocated collections will be accessible to the public by appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Wroughton library’s reading room.

The Science Museum said the decision to move the library was part of a mutual agreement between the two institutions to free up space on the Imperial College campus.

According to the museum, the new research centre will reflect its renewed focus on academic research and provide “a greater connection between the museum’s objects and its library and archive collections”.

Heather Mayfield, deputy director of the Science Museum, said: “We recognise that the closure of the library will be inconvenient for some researchers but I hope they will bear with us in the unavoidable period before the opening of our fabulous research centre.”

She said the museum would continue to work with Imperial College, adding: “Our relationship with Imperial College has been, and will remain, one of our closest partnerships.”

The planned research centre will be accessible to the public, universities and special interest groups. It will bring the museum’s Research and Public History Department together with its library and archive collections.

A new digital management system in the centre will give visitors access to library and archive catalogues and e-journals, as well as the Science Museum’s collection and image databases.

A Science Museum spokesman said the institution was currently undertaking an options appraisal of possible sites for the research centre within the museum building, and would give details of its cost and location in due course.