Banner: REALM Project

REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM): A COVID-19 Research Project

As libraries, museums, and archives adjust policies and operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for clear, science-based information to support local decision making. In response, OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle launched a research partnership and communication network in April 2020.

The REALM project is conducting research that includes laboratory testing on materials commonly found in archives, libraries, and museums; tracking the scientific literature on issues of transmission, decontamination, vaccines and variants; and collecting illustrative examples that can help cultural heritage institutions mitigate COVID-19 exposure to staff and visitors. 

REALM project activities will run through September 2021 and have included:

  • Collecting, reviewing, and summarizing authoritative research that applies to materials commonly found in the collections and facilities of archives, libraries, and museums
  • Ongoing consultation and engagement with a project steering committee, working groups, and other subject matter experts from archives, libraries, and museums
  • Laboratory testing of how COVID-19 interacts with a selection of materials commonly found in archives, libraries, and museums; and identifying methods of handling and remediation
  • Host discussions with representatives from a diverse range of institutions on topics related to navigating through, preparing for, and recovering from public health crises
  • Synthesize the above inputs into toolkit resources that support operational and leadership considerations
  • Share project information and toolkit resources through the project website, presentations, and member associations and support organizations that serve archives, libraries, and/or museums.

Go to REALM website:



This site synthesizes various studies and data; however, the scientific understanding regarding COVID-19 is continuously evolving. This material is being provided for informational purposes only, and readers are encouraged to review federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local guidance. The authors, sponsors, and researchers are not liable for any damages resulting from use, misuse, or reliance upon this information, or any errors or omissions herein.