Each year the museum and the archive are visited by about 400 to 500 domestic and foreign researchers: In 2009 for example, submarine veteran groups and other groups with maritime background came from Japan, the US, the Netherlands and Spain. 317 people visited the archive to do specific research and, following prior appointment, another 376 visitors were guided by experts through the premises. Therefore, the total of 693 visitors indicates a growing interest. In Spring 2009 the North German Broadcast Station (NDR) came to produce a documentary on the work of the u-boat Archive. In Autumn 2009, another TV team came to shoot pictures from selected exhibits at the archive for a documentary on Kriegsmarine U-boats, this time from Spain.
The archive maintains a comprehensive library of literature on submarines published since 1906 until today. Also, there are many books available on the history of the war at sea, submarines of foreign Navies, military history in general as well as contemporary history. In 2009 the total holdings of books increased by 352 to about 6.000 volumes – stemming mainly from inheritances and new publications of historians and authors that did prior research at the archive.
The Photographic Archive
At the end of 2009, there was a stock of some 165.062 photographs archived. Orders for a total of 1.221 reprints were received from 48 senders, with 32 domestic applications for 688 photographs and 16 applications from foreign countries for 533 photographs. The vast majority of reprints is copied on CDs.
Assets of Deceased Submariners
At the upper floor of the museum there are five rooms full of assets of deceased submariners. In particular, there are complete collections, filling one room each, of Hans-Diedrich Freiherr von Tiesenhausen (CO of Kriegsmarine U 331), Werner Kraus (Engineer of Kriegsmarine U 123 and Chief Engineer of U 4713), Kurt Baberg (CO of Kriegsmarine U 30, U 618 and U 827) and Otto Hersing (CO of Imperial German Navy U 21).
War diaries are available on microfilms. Step by step they are scanned to computers and printed out. In 2009 some 48 war diaries of 44 U-boats with 1.650 pages were ordered by 16 historians and authors to be printed out and mailed as hardcopies. The total stock of complete war diaries has grown to meanwhile 4.611. In future, besides in hardcopy files the data will be compiled as an electronic version (pdf), allowing quick access to all essential data such as U-boat, COs und crews to facilitate easier research.
U-Boat Data Sheets
Data sheets contain all important events concerning a particular U-boat. There is almost complete information available of 344 UBoats of the Imperial German Navy between 1914 and 1918 and for 1.171 U-boats of the Kriegsmarine between 1945 an 1945, ranging from keel-laying to the final whereabouts, as well as crew lists and detailed data on crew members. In future, data in war diaries and UBoat data sheets will be archived in a data bank, that is linked to other data banks, allowing a quick access to all essential data, such as U-Boat, Commanding Officers and crews, thereby facilitating easier research.
Each year between 500 and 700 written inquiries are addressed to the archive. Approximately two thirds of those come from domestic senders. In 2009 some 612 inquiries were received, of which were 338 domestic and 274 from 23 foreign countries.