And now the end is near…

As 2014 draws to a close and we prepare to begin delivering all the rest of the exciting projects we’ve got planned for the next four years of the HLF project, we thought it might be nice to look back on 12 of our important numbers during this year, in a 12 days of Christmas style.

In the 12 months since last Christmas we have opened Heritage Quay!  A new HLF-funded archive, with exhibitions and technology. (Ok, don’t panic, that’s the last of the rhyming!)

… 11 events a month is about the number we’re hosting in our new exhibition and group spaces.  These range from university open days, to public lectures, or seminars for students and private tours for local community groups.  Check the Events calendar for details, but you could attend a special workshop like this one that ran during the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

… 10 new volunteers have worked in the archive in 2014, joining our small band of regular volunteering stalwarts.  Their contribution in listing, surveying and cleaning records prior to our move cannot be under-estimated!  They have been amazing.

… 9 groups of students from different courses and years have come into the archive this year for an ‘Introduction to Archive Skills’ course and a chance to look at some of our materials.  We hope this might then inspire return visits to connect archives to coursework and dissertation topics.

… 8 research themes are the basis of our decision making on what collections we take on.  To re-cap, these are Education, Women, Sport, Music, Politics, Health, Industry and Non-conformity.  If you want to know more about who we are and where we’re going, visit the About Us page on the website.  You can even read our collecting, preservation and access policies in the Plans, Policies, Performance and Projects box.

… 7 (paid) student assistants have worked for us at the end of this summer.  They have diligently audited and listed our collections, moved boxes around and ticked off lots of jobs that we didn’t think we’d get to by the end of 2015, never mind 2014! They are magnificent!

… 6 new members of staff started work with us in 2014.  A majority of these are contract staff appointed as part of the HLF funding who will be working with us over the next two to three years.  They include two cataloguing archivists, two archives assistants, and two officers working on community learning and working with schools.

… 5 ways to search our new online catalogue at heritagequay.org.  New collections catalogues will be uploaded regularly from now on and you have the option to search by a title, date, reference number, person or place name.

… 4 new collections have come into the archive this year, in addition to the accruals to existing collections.  We have welcomed political collections including the Robert Blatchford and Duncan Scott collection, an additional rugby league archive in the form of the Mike Stephenson collection, and will shortly be welcoming the Mikron Theatre Archive.  We hope they will be joined by many more in 2015!

… 3 new repository spaces make up our new archival storage in Heritage Quay.  There is our main store, an outsize room for larger objects and a freezer rooms with, you guessed it, freezers to store some of the audio visual material in order to keep it cooler and more stable for a very long period of time.  If you’re interested in seeing our storerooms you can book on a public tour, or just peep through the portholes, built for that very purpose!

… 2 local societies have made Heritage Quay their base for the next year.  Whilst we’ve been welcoming a range of internal and external groups over the last few months, the Huddersfield Local History Society and Huddersfield & District Archaeological Societies have been attracting ever larger numbers of attendees.  Their programme of lectures are on their website, and are of course, open to the public!

And 1 big curvy screen!  It’s been the talk of the town, and from the youngest to the oldest visitors have been enjoying getting to grips with our collection highlights experience, lovingly known amongst us as ‘the big curvy screen’.  Objects can be selected by gesture, and items examined in close up or music samples played through the sound system to experience what the archive has to offer without having any particular research interest, as pieces are chosen from across the collections.

From all of us at Heritage Quay we wish you Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2015!  We hope it’ll be the year you come to visit us if you haven’t managed to already, and also the year that we can offer you many more exciting opportunities to get involved in using and enjoying archives!

In the meantime, as none of us can sing, we’ll leave our Chancellor to ‘sing’ us out with a festive little number: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mBZFlteYRE

 

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