Do I need special permission to look at material held in Tate Archive?
No – Tate Archive is a national repository and is open to everyone aged 18 or over. To make access arrangements for those aged under 18, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 0)20 7887 8838.
How do I gain access to material in Tate Archive?
You only need to register as an Archive Reader – fill out a registration form, and bring along two pieces of identification, one with a photograph and one with your name and address from the last three months.
What can I bring into the reading room?
You can bring whatever materials you need for study – pencils, notebooks, laptop etc. However, bags and coats will need to be left in the cloakroom. Pencils are used instead of pens because our materials are unique and spilt ink can cause irreparable damage.
Can I bring books from the library to consult while I am in the Archive Reading Room?
Is everything in Tate Archive available to consult?
Everything that is on the online catalogue should be available to consult; if there are any restrictions they will be specified on the catalogue. Substitutes (facsimiles or surrogates) will be provided for items that are too fragile to bring out. Uncatalogued collections do not appear on the catalogue, but are collated here. Please give us twenty working days’ notice if you are interested in viewing anything specific from an uncatalogued collections, as we will have to check them for any data protection, security or conservation issues before allowing access. Parts of some collections – such as commercial gallery records – may be closed for up to 100 years due to financially sensitive reasons (for example in the records of commercial galleries) relating to identifiable individuals or because of the large amounts of sensitive personal information (for example in personal papers) that they may contain.
Does Tate Archive hold materials in digital or electronic form, and is it possible to consult these?
This type of material has started to enter Tate Archive and we are investigating access for researchers via a stand-alone computer in the reading room.
How do I find out if Tate Archive has the material I want to see?
Please consult our online catalogue. You can search by collection name (e.g. Donald Rodney), date (e.g. 1939-1945), 'TGA' reference number (if, for instance, you found a reference to an item in an article or book), or free text (e.g. ‘studio’).
How do I order up the material I want to see?
If you would like to see an item, take notice of the reference number (in this example, TGA 779/8/262-314), email it with the day you would like to visit (we are open Monday-Friday, 11.00-17.00) and we will have the material ready for you.
How many items can I order up?
You can order up to five items in advance of your visit, and further items once you are in the reading room. Requests are collected every hour on the half hour (i.e. 11.30, 12.30 etc; the last collection is at 15.30).
Has everything in Tate Archive been digitised?
No. Tate Archive has over one million items in over 900 collections. The recent Archives & Access project digitised over 52,000 items and pieces from over 75 collections. Each year, Tate will add further digitised materials to the website.
Can I make copies of material from Tate Archive?
Readers are free to take photographs of materials with their mobile phone or a camera (without a stand), for study purposes only. More professional images can be ordered from Tate Archive when in the Reading Rooms or online via Tate Images.
How does Tate Archive decide what material it collects?
Tate Archive collects material relating to the history of British Art (primarily from 1900 onwards). Although many of our collections relate to artists represented in Tate’s art collection, we also collect archives relating to other art world personalities and art institutions that help to tell the story of British fine art practice (especially from 1900). More information can be found in our collecting policy.
Does Tate Archive only hold material relating to British art history?
No. Many artists and art world figures based in Britain originated from different parts of the world, and their archives reflect this. Further, you will find material relating to the social history of Britain in these archives – the history of feminist and post-colonial experience in Britain; the papers of soldiers, those on the home front, and conscientious objectors during two world wars; accounts of mental and physical illnesses; material relating to all forms of leisure; and rich descriptions and images of everyday life.