Guidance for visitors to the Public Study Room

The Paul Mellon Centre will re-open to the public on a limited basis from 21 April 2021.

Public Study Room opening hours

The Public Study Room will be open by appointment only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, between 10.30-12.45 and 13.15-15.30. The rest of the PMC will be open by invitation only on these same days of the week.

All readers will be required to leave the building during the lunch time closure of 12.45-13.15.

While we have been closed we have been working to put in place a number of measures to protect you and our staff. Guidance that applies to all visitors to the Centre is available on our visit page. The following measures have been put in place to protect researchers and our staff while accessing materials in our Public Study Room, and will be subject to continual review and revision.


All readers who wish to view any Archives & Library material in person must book an appointment by writing to by midnight on the Tuesday of the week before their visit. Appointments, with set arrival times, will be made in consultation with Archives & Library staff.

We are currently offering an enhanced enquiry service and it might be possible to carry out research for you so that you don’t have to visit in person. Please write to the email above with the details of your request.

In order to practice safe social distancing, there will be a limit of four readers a day in the Public Study Room (one reader per desk). Each reader will be assigned a desk for the day and arrival times will be staggered.

Access to Archives & Library material, either via remote enquiries or during in-person visits, will only be possible following completion of a Reader Agreement Form.

Please be aware that all appointments to use the Public Study Room may be subject to last minute cancellation depending on staff availability and/or government led Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance and safety precautions.

Archives & Library material

In order to support recommended best practice with regard to quarantining material, all Archives and Library material must be requested by midnight on the Tuesday of the week before your visit as part of the booking procedure. All Archives & Library material will be quarantined for 72 hours before and after use. It may be possible to request additional material during your visit, but this will not have been quarantined and is subject to availability.

Archives and Library material will be brought to the table allocated to you in advance of your visit. When you have finished, you must leave all material on your desk.

No browsing of the library shelves is permitted, nor will it be possible for readers to retrieve items themselves.


The public computer terminal will not be available to visitors, so we encourage you to bring your own device to access the Archives and Library catalogues. This will also be the case for the photocopier and scanner, but you will be permitted to use your own devices to take photographs. Please discuss reproduction requests with a member of staff during your visit.

The reader area will be closed and there will be nowhere onsite to fill up water bottles. You may bring water with you but this must be left in your bag in the locker.