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Visiting Highland Archive Centre

Our buildings and searchrooms are now open to everyone. While booking is not essential, we recommend getting in touch in advance to ensure the centre is open and that the records you wish to view are available.


Opening Hours

The Highland Archive Centre is open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10.00am – 4.30pm.


Available Services at Highland Archive Centre

  • In-person research in the searchroom and in the Family History Centre
  • Scotland’s People – this service is administered by our colleagues in the Registration Service. Bookable slots are now available on a limited basis. Please contact [email protected]for more information.
  • In-person family history consultations– consultations with the Family Historian at Highland Archive Centre are available to book. For more information please see our Family History page or email [email protected] to enquire about availability. This service costs £30 per hour.
  • Remote one-to-one family history consultations– you can also book a virtual consultation with the Family Historian. For more information please see our Family History page or email [email protected] to enquire about availability. This service costs £30 per hour.
  • Remote archive and family history research– we can undertake research on your behalf. This service costs £30 per hour. Email [email protected] from archive research or [email protected] for family history research.
  • Public Access Computers providing access to online resources are available at Highland Archive Centre.
  • Microfilm readers/microform readers are available.
  • A selection of local and family history books are available to assist in your research

Planning Your Visit

Highland Archive Service online catalogue allows you to see what records are available to view in our four Archive Centres. The catalogue contains nearly 100,000 descriptions of archives and library holdings and you can search by text, reference number or Archive Centre to help you find entries relating to the subject you’re interested in. Once you have found records you would like to view, you can contact the Archive Centre about accessing them. Please note that not all of our archive holdings are catalogued and available to search online so if you have any other questions about possible records please get in touch and we can arrange a call-back to further discuss your research needs.

Ahead of your Visit

We offer the option for you to pre-order any documents ahead of your visit, saving you time on the day. You can pre-order up to 10 items in advance and this can include original archive documents, microfilm and any reference books held in our library. Please give as much information as possible at this stage to ensure we have everything ready ahead of your visit.

We will send you guidance and information including a registration form which should be completed ahead of your visit. The Archive Service staff will use the information provided to compile statistics on searchroom use. This form can also be completed in the searchroom.

What to bring with you

  • Laptops– You can bring a laptop or tablet. Please let us know in advance if you will require a WiFi code or a charging point for your device.
  • Stationery– Please bring your own pencils/sharpeners/paper, etc. Pens are not permitted in the Searchroom to protect the documents.
  • Cameras– You can take photos of documents with your phone/digital camera, subject to copyright or other restrictions. There is a charge for camera use of £5 per day. Miniature scanners are not permitted.

During your visit

  • Free parking is available at the Highland Archive Centre.
  • On arrival at the Highland Archive Centre please make your way upstairs (there is a lift just past the stairs) to the Family History Centre.
  • Lockers are available for storage of coats and bags during your visit.
  • Staff will direct you to your desk where any documents you have requested ahead of your visit will be waiting.
  • There will be the opportunity to talk to a member of staff who will be able to help generally with any research questions you may have.
  • Additional documents may be ordered as part of your visit, please ask a member of staff.
  • Contactless payments are the preferred payment method, however we continue to accept cash for occasions when this is not possible.
  • Toilet facilities are available for customer use and are located on the first floor immediately outside the Family History Centre.

How to find relevant records…

As well as our Highland Archive Service online catalogue we also have copies of catalogues of many of the archive holdings available in the searchroom. Please feel free to browse through them to find any archive material which may be of interest. Each catalogue has an initial description giving a summary of the contents, details of the creator and the types of records which can be found within the collection.

Further resources…

There are catalogues of holdings relevant to the Highlands but held elsewhere. There is a small reference library available of secondary sources relating to the Highlands.

There are public access computers at Highland Archive Centre, Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre and Nucleus: The Nuclear and Caithness Archive. You can register as a temporary user and access the internet to look at online resources. Proof of identity is needed for this service. Acceptable documents are credit card, passport, ID card, driving licence.

How to request documents …

A document request slip must be completed for every archive to be consulted. The document reference will be found in the catalogue. Please give the completed request slip to a member of staff and they will deliver the documents to you. This should take no longer than 15 minutes depending on how busy the searchroom is. We also offer the option for you to pre-order any documents ahead of your visit, saving you time on the day. You can pre-order up to 10 items in advance and this can include original archive documents, microfilm and any reference books held in our library

Handling archives…

The records we look after are unique and irreplaceable so great care must be taken when handling them. For example, they need to be carried and put down carefully, they should be handled as little as possible, and nothing should be put on top of them. Please see the searchroom rules for further guidance.

To obtain a copy…

Copying of all archives is subject to copyright restrictions, the condition of the original material and is at our discretion.

You can take photos of documents with your phone/digital camera, subject to copyright or other restrictions. There is a charge for camera use of £5 per day and on completion of the appropriate Self Service Photography Form. Miniature scanners are not permitted.

If copying is permitted a Reprographics Form must be completed prior to copying being undertaken. There is a small charge for this service.

When the research is finished…

Please leave the documents and any other items you have been using on the table as they will be collected after you have left.

Please remember to collect all your belongings before leaving the building.