Exhibitions and displays

Our exhibitions are free and open to all. We have two major exhibitions a year in our Keeper’s Gallery and we have temporary changing displays around our building. Some of our exhibitions are also on tour at other locations. It is not necessary to book to visit, but do check our opening times.

Great Escapes: Remarkable Second World War Captives opening on 2 February 2024 reveals the stories of prisoners of war and civilian internees.

Stories Unboxed is a new display that takes a single document and explores its story. Let our specialists highlight topical finds and lesser-known treasures.

Examine our replica Cabinet table and explore leaders from the past through their documents at this permanent display at The National Archives.

This temporary installation to time with our Great Escapes exhibition displays photographs from the prisoner of war camp that was located on the site of The National Archives in Kew in 1945.

This artwork by Ngadi Smart was commissioned as part of our Windrush 75 commemorations, inspired by records including the iconic passenger list.

Spirit of Invention was a family exhibition open from 27 May to 29 October 2023, where you could become an inventor for the day. It will be on tour at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle from 16 March to 23 June 2024.

Treason: People, Power & Plot was an exhibition on the history of treason since 1352. Discover 700 years of treasonous history.

Fifty years after the first Pride March in the UK, we’re remembering and celebrating some of the LGBTQ+ lives in the archives through our ‘Pride Portraits’ project.

Our exhibition in Summer 2022 let visitors step into the world of 1920s Britain and experience what life was really like.

‘[re]Encoding the Archive” is an exhibition of three newly commissioned installations that explore our journey into the Digital Age.

Our ‘With Love’ exhibition in 2020 offered glimpses into private worlds through a collection of love letters spanning 500 years.

‘Protect and Survive’ in 2019 offered a fascinating look at Britain during the Cold War era, exploring life under the persistent threat of nuclear attack.