The Keeper's Gallery is an on site exhibition space which showcases highlights from The National Archives. The 'Keeper' is the guardian and head of the archive. The gallery displays a wide selection of treasures including records related to British history, family history and significant global events, as well as intriguing stories from the archive itself.

In the centre of the gallery is the 'More than words: Documents that shaped Britain and the world' exhibit. Here you will find a selection of documents - some well known, some not - that illustrate how records from our collection have changed and influenced our understanding of country, culture and constitution, not only here in the UK, but around the world.

The material on display changes regularly.

Current highlights

  • Colonial Office photograph of Tanganyika, 1961

    ../images/keepers-gallery/co-1069-166-74.jpg

    Catalogue reference: CO 1069/166/74

    Colonial Office photograph of Tanganyika, 1961
  • Colonial Office photograph of Tanganyika, 1961

    ../images/keepers-gallery/co-1069-166-109.jpg

    Catalogue reference: CO 1069/166/109

    Colonial Office photograph of Tanganyika, 1961
  • Cover of The Suffragist Journal, 1909

    ../images/keepers-gallery/ho-45-10338-139199-p1.jpg

    Catalogue reference: HO 45/10338/139199 p1

    Cover of The Suffragist Journal, 1909
  • Photograph of SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan GC, 1939-1944

    ../images/keepers-gallery/a-pro-hs9-836-5-world-war-ii-soe-agenst-noor-inayat-khan-gc-1914-1944.jpg

    Catalogue reference: HS 9/836/5

    Photograph of SOE agent Noor Inayat Khan GC, 1939-1944
  • Personal file of Noor Inayat Khan, SOE report, 1939-1944

    ../images/keepers-gallery/hs9-836-5-world-war-ii-soe-report-in-personal-file-of-noor-inyat-khan.jpg

    Catalogue reference: HS 9/836/5

    Personal file of Noor Inayat Khan, SOE report, 1939-1944
  • Section of the Chapter House, Westminster, 1807

    ../images/keepers-gallery/mpb1-2-1-section-of-the-chapter-house-westminster-1807.jpg

    Catalogue reference: MPB 1/2/1

    Section of the Chapter House, Westminster, 1807
  • European factories on the West Coast of Africa, 1663-1681

    ../images/keepers-gallery/mpg1-221-africa-west-coast-1663-1681.jpg

    Catalogue reference: MPG 1/221

    European factories on the West Coast of Africa, 1663-1681
  • 'View of Cato Street', print depicting the Cato Street conspirators' headquarters, 1820

    ../images/keepers-gallery/ts11-202-cato-street-conspiracy-1820-view-of-cato-street.jpg

    Catalogue reference: TS 11/202

    'View of Cato Street', print depicting the Cato Street conspirators' headquarters, 1820
  • Sketch of hayloft at Cato Street, 1820

    ../images/keepers-gallery/ts11-202-cato-street-conspiracy-1820-sketch-of-hayloft.jpg

    Catalogue reference: TS 11/202

    Sketch of hayloft at Cato Street, 1820

A closer look at...

SOE fake passport for Hitler (HS 8/1032)

'Portillo's State Secrets': highlights from the series

Tuesday 24 March - Friday 15 May 2015

A selection of the records featured in the BBC Two programme Portillo's State Secrets, including the Cato street conspiracy spikes and Adolf Hitler's fake passport, will be on display in the Keeper's Gallery.

View a wider selection of the documents featured in the series.

Jean Barbot's journal

Tuesday 15 December 2014 - Friday 15 May 2015

Catalogue reference: ADM 7/830A

Jean Barbot was employed as a commercial agent on a number of slave-trading voyages to West Africa by the French in the 1670s and 1680s. His journals include a variety of detailed drawings on many subjects including local fish, birds, views of the coast and scenes from African life.

Forthcoming highlights

The Battle of Waterloo

Tuesday 31 March - Friday 25 September 2015

2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo in 1815 when French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated. A selection of documents held by The National Archives will be on display, including the Duke of Wellington's handwritten account of the battle.

Maori individuals from ‘New Zealanders', illustrated by George French Angus (CO 1069/632)

Oldest known Maori map of New Zealand

Tuesday 31 March - Friday 25 September

This Maori related display includes the oldest known chart of New Zealand drawn by Maori priest Tuki Tahua, dated 1793. Featured alongside the map are later coloured lithographs of Maori individuals from 'New Zealanders', illustrated by George French Angus.


Magna Carta of 1225 (DL 10/71)

Magna Carta

Tuesday 19 May - Friday 27 November 2015
Original 1225 Magna Carta on display Tuesday 19 May - Friday 12 June 2015

The National Archives holds many of the key documents relating to the granting of Magna Carta and its significance and development through history. A selection of these original documents will be on display, and short talks by our specialists will take place in the gallery while the 1225 Magna Carta is on display.


Events

Photograph from a Keeper’s Gallery family event

Family event: Making posters for the Second World War

Thursday 2 April 2015, 10:30-11:45

This free hands-on family workshop is suitable for 5 to 10 year olds. During the workshop, you can:

  • find out how the British government encouraged people to support the war
  • explore a range of original propaganda posters
  • create your own poster

Book your free place now.

Please note children must be accompanied by an adult at all times during the workshop.

Family event: Magna Carta, sealing an agreement

Thursday 28 May 2015, 10:30-11:45

This free hands-on family workshop is suitable for 5 to 10 year olds. In the workshop you can:

  • learn how people made agreements in the past 
  • see the beautiful seals in our collection
  • explore a famous sealed document
  • create your own seal

Book your free place now.

Please note children must be accompanied by an adult at all times during the workshop.

Tours of the Keeper's Gallery

The Keeper's Gallery is now offering free tours of the gallery twice a month, led by volunteers. The tour dates are:

Thursday 02 April 2015, 14:00-14:30
Wednesday 15 April 2015, 14:00-14:30
Thursday 07 May 2015, 14:00-14:30

Please meet at the welcome desk five minutes before the tour start time. Each tour group will take a maximum of 12 people on a first come first served basis.

Visitor information

The Keeper's Gallery is free and is open 09:00-17:00, Tuesday-Saturday. It is located on the ground floor of The National Archives.

For preservation reasons light levels are kept low in certain areas of the gallery and some documents on display are facsimiles. Please note, as we have generally made the space brighter and increased the ambient temperature of the gallery we are no longer able to provide the right environment to have Domesday permanently on display. Instead, there is a new rotating exhibit in the central part of the gallery that will feature Domesday for approximately six months every five years. There is currently a replica of Domesday on display.

You can find, and contribute to, Wikipedia entries about some of our displays using QR codes. However, you will need to download an app to access QR codes before you visit The National Archives as you cannot download apps over our free public wifi.

Keeper's Gallery blog

To find out more about our latest exhibits, read our Keeper's Gallery blog series.

Feedback

We would welcome any feedback or suggestions regarding the Keeper's Gallery.

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