An­nual cam­paign cel­e­brates ar­chives

The third an­nual Ex­plore Your Ar­chive cam­paign saw or­gan­i­sa­tions across the UK and Ire­land open their doors for a packed pro­gramme of events in Novem­ber

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ON THE RECORD -

Hun­dreds of ar­chives, mu­se­ums and gal­leries across the UK and Ire­land opened their doors for the third an­nual Ex­plore Your Ar­chive week in Novem­ber.

Be­gin­ning on Satur­day 14 Novem­ber and run­ning for eight days, high­lights from the pro­gramme in­cluded be­hind-the-scenes tours of the ar­chives at Lon­don’s Na­tional Gallery, a First World War open day at North La­nark­shire Her­itage Cen­tre in Mother­well and an ex­hi­bi­tion on food and drink at the Shake­speare Birth­place Trust in Strat­ford-upon-Avon.

One of the most ac­tive par­tic­i­pants was the York Ex­plore Li­brary Learn­ing Cen­tre, which has more than 800 years’ worth of records re­lat­ing to the City of York.

Dur­ing the cam­paign week, the cen­tre hosted 21 events, in­clud­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of maps that were cre­ated by lo­cal col­lege stu­dents, chil­dren’s sto­ry­telling ses­sions, and a va­ri­ety of lec­tures.

How­ever, York Ex­plore’s Laura Yeo­man said her per­sonal high­light was a ‘DIY Ar­chives Day’, which saw 28 vol­un­teers take part in cat­a­logu­ing items.

“Most of the par­tic­i­pants had never en­gaged with the ar­chives at all be­fore,” she said. “Yet in the space of six hours they man­aged to cat­a­logue 263 vol­umes and a fur­ther 22 years’ worth of lo­cal MP press files, which will shortly be added to our on­line cat­a­logue.”

In­tended to pro­mote the role of ar­chives within so­ci­ety and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, the an­nual Ex­plore Your Ar­chive cam­paign is man­aged jointly by The Na­tional Ar­chives (TNA) and the Ar­chives and Records As­so­ci­a­tion.

Al­though full sta­tis­tics were not avail­able at the time of go­ing to press, a TNA spokesper­son told Who Do You Think You Are? Mag­a­zine that the week had been “very suc­cess­ful” in terms of so­cial me­dia ac­tiv­ity.

On Twit­ter, the of­fi­cial cam­paign hash­tag #ex­plore­archives was tweeted more than 14,500 times, reach­ing ap­prox­i­mately 25.9 mil­lion unique users – an in­crease of 47 per cent from last year.

A se­ries of themed hash­tags were also tweeted on dif­fer­ent days of the cam­paign week, each of which en­tered Twit­ter’s UK list of trend­ing top­ics.

On Fri­day 20 Novem­ber, dozens of ar­chives and mu­se­ums tweeted pic­tures of an­i­mal-re­lated arte­facts in their col­lec­tions with the hash­tag #archivean­i­mals.

Among those join­ing in was Wilt­shire and Swin­don His­tory Cen­tre, which posted a pho­to­graph of a mum­mi­fied cat in its col­lec­tions, as well as the Li­brary of Birm­ing­ham Ar­chives, which shared a pic­ture of a dog drawn by choco­late mag­nate Richard Cad­bury.

Al­though the cam­paign of­fi­cially ended on Sun­day 22 Novem­ber, a num­ber of par­tic­i­pat­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions are con­tin­u­ing to hold events un­der the ‘Ex­plore Your Ar­chive’ ban­ner into the New Year. For list­ings, visit the web­site ex­plorey­ourar­chive.org.

Na­tional Gallery Re­search Cen­tre staff wel­comed vis­i­tors and shared their per­sonal col­lec­tion high­lights

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