The collection of records held by the National Archives is of enduring historical value, unique and irreplaceable. As such, the collection is secured in humidity and temperature-controlled record room to ensure its preservation for present and future generations. Access to the records in the archive is therefore controlled and systematic, unlike a library where books are easily retrieved from shelves by users.
Records from the collection may be requested and consulted by visiting our Search Room at our office at Richmond Hill, Kingstown, where our knowledgeable staff will be on hand to assist you. There is no charge to view the records. Visitors are required to complete a Research Application Form.
Once the Research Application Form is completed, your request will be forwarded to the Vault Attendant, who will retrieve the record, on a first-come, first-serve basis. You are required to fill out a form for each visit, one per day. No more than three items are allowed for use at a time.
It is important to note that there may be instances when access to records may be restricted. This may occur when records are in a fragile condition, or are being restored in our conservation lab, or when there are specific legal or administrative restrictions to access.
As constant handling of records renders them vulnerable to damage and loss of information they contain, regular monitoring is done by Search Room staff to ensure that records are being handled in accordance with Search Room Regulations, some of which include:
the use of gloves when handling all documents;
no leaning or pressing on records;
no marking or annotating of records;
the use of pencils for taking notes
not interfering with the original order of papers within a file.