Helping you to explore York’s incredible history

From 15 April 2024, Explore York will be closing the Archives Reading Room for three days a month so that staff can focus on improving access to our wonderful collections. The community and civic archives we hold on behalf of the City of York Council are one of the most important local authority archives outside London. Yet many of the records in our care remain invisible to York’s communities, and to our national and international researchers. Incomplete and fragmentary cataloguing in the past, records in need of preventative conservation, and a lack of online information is compromising the ability of our users to explore our collections and find the information they need.

Image of a pile of archive books being untied

The Setting the Record Straight project will:

  • implement a comprehensive review of our collections information, improving, expanding and enriching our online catalogue;
  • carry out further preventative conservation measures on select items;
  • create generous online information about our collections, providing contextual details and signposting researchers to related material.

This work will have a significant and lasting impact on our users.  Researchers will reap the benefits of  increased discoverability and understanding of our collections. We will be able to share more of our collections with our communities, connecting them with archives that help to tell their story. The project will also put our collections in a better place for a programme of digitisation, which has the potential to transform access to the archives for current and future generations.


Explore Archives is part of Explore York Libraries and Archives Mutual Limited.  A mutual organisation owned by our staff and community members.  Although we are contracted by the City of York Council to look after the Archives Service on their behalf, we need to raise additional funds to ensure the continued conservation and maintenance of the collection.  If you would like to donate to enable us to continue our work then please contact us at 01904 552 828 or, or donate via our website Giving – Explore York.

Reading room closures

Setting the Record Straight will initially be in place for a trial period of 12 months, from April 2024 to March 2025.  Below is a calendar of our planned closures for 2024/25:

Monday 15 April – Wednesday 17 April 2024

Monday 13 May – Wednesday 15 May 2024

Monday 17 June – Wednesday 19 June 2024

Monday 15 July – Wednesday 17 July 2024

Monday 12 August – Wednesday 14 August 2024

Monday 16 September – Wednesday 18 September 2024

Monday 14 October – Wednesday 16 October 2024

Monday 18 November – Wednesday 20 November 2024

Monday 9 December – Wednesday 11 December 2024

Monday 13 January – Wednesday 15 January 2025

Monday 17 February – Wednesday 19 February 2025

Monday 17 March – Wednesday 19 March 2025