Heritage Quay has been taken over

On Friday 20 November, almost a year after opening, the home of the University of Huddersfield Archives were invaded by a large group of enthusiastic 13 year olds.  The group roamed throughout Heritage Quay all day, finding their way into the strong room, getting hands on in the Listening Room, interrogating staff and visitors, and handling fragile documents from the archive collections.

But don’t worry! These were students from the Netherhall Learning Campus History Club, and they were here as part of the national Takeover in Museums Day campaign, which is run by Kids in Museums under the Children’s Commissioner’s Takeover Challenge.

The archives team led the students through some of the tasks that are essential to the running of Heritage Quay. Lindsay, our Assistant Archives Manager, explained why and how collections are protected and preserved and set the group to work on identifying pests before packaging awkwardly shaped items which might be vulnerable to damage. This activity was particularly popular as it required the wearing of lab coats and gloves – CSI style!
handling original documents         
    pests and packaging

Another group were taken in hand by Rob, our Collections Access Officer, who introduced a range of audio formats, including vinyl records, Betamax and cassettes.  Records were unfamiliar to many of the students, and with Rob’s help, they learned how to transfer a 30s dance tune, The Crocodile Hop, to digital format, coining a new word in the process – digitilisation!

in the listening room with Rob     rare what is digitalisation

Dave Smith, Heritage Quay’s Participation Officer, explained the importance of engaging with the public and the different ways of doing this.  He supervised a group of roving reporters who provided images and commentary on social media throughout the day, and it is their photographs which accompany this blog.


Finally, I took the whole group up to the students’ union to do some market research and       discover if people are aware of Heritage Quay and what it’s all about.  This involved approaching    university students, HQ clipboard in hand, smiling and asking a few questions.  This exercise was really daunting for some of the group and it was great to watch their confidence grow as they initiated conversation with strangers.  Although I did think we might have lost the entire group when we passed by a student stand which was giving out free sweets…


After lunch the students hosted an open hour session, where they shared their newly acquired knowledge with visitors to Heritage Quay.  This tested their patience while waiting for visitors to arrive – and gave them a chance to practice meet and greet skills when they did. Fielding questions from the public and learning that it’s okay to say “I don’t know” were useful experiences too. viola and child      DCIM101MEDIA    DCIM101MEDIA

Heritage Quay’s first Takeover Day was concluded with certificates awarded by the Assistant Archives Manager. Thanks to the Archives Team, and our volunteers Caroline and Richard, the event was a great success.  We’ll all remember Matthew’s fancy footwork to the strains of the Crocodile Hop, and have adopted two new words into the HQ lexicon – digitalisation and stronghold!  We shall definitely be repeating the Takeover experience next year – will you join us?

group photojazzhands

.Quotes of the Day

“Netherhall Learning Campus have arrived at Huddersfield University for the Take Over day. So far we have learnt about the big curvy screen which is very interesting as we have never seen anything like that before! Before we got here we thought it was going to be boring and just full of old boring books, but it was really unexpected and we found so [much] entertaining things with technology.” Takeover Day Social Media Group 

“I learned that you keep water away from old things.” Takeover Day Archives Group

“It was great to see the kids’ enthusiasm, and interesting to see the knowledge they picked up, and how they used research skills they learned during the day.” Assistant Archives Manager

“We went to the stronghold hunting for pests which damage the products. We have learnt about digitalizing an audio tape to the computer so we can have the tape for ever (until Armageddon of course) so other people in 100s of years can check it so they know how it was like.”

Takeover Day Digitising Group 


Has Takeover Day made me think about a career in history?


Trizia Wells

Learning & Engagement Officer

Heritage Quay

Download a PDF of this article here Takeover Day

Autumn Term at Heritage Quay

With the new school term well under way, here at Heritage Quay we’re looking forward to welcoming lots of new faces onto our schools  programme for years 4 to 8, with workshops such as Find It! Draw It! Play It! and Build It!  All our workshops are linked to the History, Geography, Technology, English and Drama curriculae for key stages 2 and 3, are great fun and completely free!

The Archives at Heritage Quay will be celebrating The Big Draw during October with the launch of an arts based workshop, Draw It! which draws inspiration from two local historical figures, Victor Grayson, M.P. for Colne Valley in the early 20th century, and Susannah Sunderland, “Yorkshire Queen of Song”, the founder of the choral competition which will be familiar to many Huddersfield schools.

In November, Heritage Quay will be handing over control to students from Netherhall High School’s history club as they take over the archives on Friday 20 November, as part of the national Kids in Museums campaign. They’ll be undertaking some research of their own as well as taking on the roles and tasks of Archivists.

We’ve already got some role play experience under our belt through our theatre workshop Play It! which took place back in June.  This drama workshop takes the Rugby League collection at Heritage Quay as its starting point.  Supporting History and English curriculum objectives, Y6 children from Lindley Junior School re-told the story of the birth of Rugby League and its impact on local communities.  They were led through a range of dramatic techniques by professional actors from Chol Theatre along with Huddersfield University drama students.  The pupils and their teachers learned a lot about acting and rugby – they thoroughly enjoyed dressing up, handling artefacts from the collection – and wearing false moustaches!  Here they are posing at the end of their performance with the 1892 Yorkshire Senior Competition Shield.

Our schools workshops support National Curriculum objectives, last around 3 hours, can include a campus tour, and best of all, are completely FREE!

So if you would like your class to discover their inner thespian, architect, researcher or artist, drop an email to T.Wells@hud.ac.uk  or give her a ring on 01484 473 168.

We look forward to seeing you this term at Heritage Quay!

Rugby League Drama Workshop 2015

“Try not to have a good time – this is supposed to be educational.”

Charles Schulz’s views sum up the hurdle facing heritage officers when it comes to providing outreach activities for schools.
It’s a challenge for any setting to meet the expectations of children who view the words “school trip” as shorthand for non-stop entertainment, whilst at the same time reassuring teachers that enjoyment need not be a barrier to achieving national curriculum requirements.

During March, we ran 3 primary school sessions at Heritage Quay under the title “It’s never too early to think about University.” We wanted to raise awareness of our collections and promote aspirations of university amongst primary age children. Our objectives were to introduce the archive service, provide opportunities for handling original artefacts, and offer campus tours led by current students. All to be done in two and a half hours, and with maximum enjoyment had by everyone!

Our Rugby League collection provided the ideal starting point for activities to engage the children’s interest. Colourful Rugby international caps, gleaming trophies and the blood and mud stained England Rugby shirt belonging to Dai Jenkins, all helped bring to life Heritage Quay’s role in preserving this important aspect of local and sporting history. Meanwhile, other groups quizzed members of the Heritage Quay team about what happens in the search room, why the strong room is so cold and how you play music on a record player. Everyone enjoyed the curvy screen, and the campus tour also went down well, with the school students relishing the opportunity to ask student Ambassadors such questions as “do you get a free iPad?” and “Have you ever regretted your choice of university course?”

It’s early days, and similar workshops showcasing other collections and meeting other national curriculum requirements are under development. However, the pilot activities have gone down well, and even Charles Schulz might have been happy with feedback from the children such as: “It was such a great trip…I was learning and having fun at the same time!”

Trizia Wells
Heritage Quays, Learning and Engagement Officer

3boys1cap closeview curvyscreen making own international caps students of the future C

It’s a first!



Heritage Quay has been open to the public since November, but today was the first time we held a schools session, and the honour went to Bradford based Oasis Academy .

40 Year 9 students were welcomed on a Taster Day by the university’s Schools, Colleges and Liaison Team, and  Heritage Quay was their base for the day.

Students were given an introduction to the university archives, and a tour of the search room and the exhibition space where the touch tables were very popular with students and teachers alike.

The Whitley collection and textile sample books from the Fabrics of India collection were used as starting points for group activities – you can see the results below  – then there was just enough time before lunch for the lead teacher to demonstrate how the curvy screen worked – possibly the highlight of the day!

Schools sessions focussing on different curriculum areas will be up and running soon at Heritage Quay – to find out more,  just email us at archives@hud.ac.uk