Advice and guidance

The National Archives is committed to providing access to the archival collection. At The National Archives, information is provided to our readers on how to handle our documents as part of their application for or on renewal of their reader’s ticket. They are not required to wear gloves unless they are handling easily-damaged material, such as photographs.

Wearing gloves to handle our documents (PDF, 0.03 MB)

Reading aids are available in the reading rooms, which are invigilated constantly by staff and CCTV.

Document-handling training is also provided for all new staff who will handle documents in the course of their work.

Leading the way

As well as managing risks to our own records when they are in use, we work with other archives, government departments and places of deposit to advise on how to best handle documents and mitigate any risks to records collections.

Read guidance on caring for your records and managing your collections:

Box board specifications (PDF, 0.02 MB)

Evaluating archival box board (PDF, 0.13 MB)

How to deal with wet documents (PDF, 0.05 MB)

Preparation of records (PDF, 2.23 MB)

Where should I go for advice on conservation (PDF, 0.04 MB)

Find out how we have worked with leading experts in the fields of environmental management, cultural heritage and conservation to develop a new environmental standard.

If you want to borrow a document from The National Archives, read our guidance on loans for exhibitions and fill in an online application form.