Open Archives 2018

Watch this space for information on the 2019 Cambridge Open Archives!


What is Open Archives?

Cambridge Open Archives, sometimes called the Cambridge archives crawl, is a free event in which members of the public are invited behind the scenes at various Cambridge archives, libraries, and collecting institutions. In June 2018 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cambridge Open Archives with two weeks of tours at 15 libraries and archives around Cambridge.

What are archives?

Here's a good description. 

What kinds of things will I see at Open Archives?

This varies from place to place. Some archives set up displays of special collections materials, while others take visitors to places that are often off-limits to the public, like closed stacks and collections storage.

In previous years, participating institutions planned their tours and collection displays around a special theme. Past Open Archives themes have included Adventures in Gastronomy, Cambridge in the 1860s, Spaces: Profane and Sacred, Living and Dying in Cambridge, and New Acquisitions & Old Treasures. This year is "Archivists’/Curators’ Choice", meaning the participating institutions pick out favorite items from their collections for display – audience favorites, personal favorites, or rarely seen materials. Whatever each institution decides to display, however, you are guaranteed to see a wonderful variety of original photographs, documents, artwork, and objects.

Does Open Archives cost anything?

Open Archives is completely free! Space is very limited, however, so register early to secure your spot. Watch this webpage for the registration link, which goes live on May 11.

Do you take volunteers for Open Archives?

Yes! We need volunteer monitors to help keep groups on track during the Open Archives visits, and also to help distribute flyers. If you work or volunteer for a library or archive, consider joining the Cambridge Archives Committee. For more information, contact

Anything else I should know?

Seating is often limited at many of the participating locations, and you should plan to be on your feet for 30-45 minutes. If you need accommodations, please email

To ensure the safety of unique and fragile collections items at our participating institutions, food, beverages, and large bags are generally not permitted inside. Some institutions may have places for you to stow anything you may have brought with you.