Now that the Archive staff have successfully moved into our new offices we are excitedly awaiting the handover of the rest of the space in order to get the collections in and start implementing our plans to get the public and the university community using the exploration and group spaces! We’re now so close we can really see how fantastic it’s going to look when completed, apart from some final construction work, all that’s really needed is for us to do our bit and populate it with collections related material!
We’ve had a couple of ‘test’ events this week (well real events, but a chance for us to test our up till now theoretical processes and procedures!), with some of our friendly local community groups holding their events in the space and giving us feedback about what we need to tweak before we open to make sure the space can adapt to big and small groups, and people with different requirements and needs. First up, the press launch of the forthcoming travelling Rugby League exhibition, which saw the space decked out with Rugby League Cares bright and sleekly designed exhibition boards (which went down well amongst us Archivists!), those involved with setting up and supporting the exhibition, and local and national press!
A few hours later we welcomed our friends from the Huddersfield Local History Society who are hosting their monthly meetings with us this year after outgrowing their previous venue. Over 120 people joined former Huddersfield lecturer, MP, and a depositor to our archives, Lord David Clark , who gave an entertaining and informative talk on Early Labour Pioneers in the Huddersfield area. Now members know where we are (and we know we need to deploy maximum chairs!) we look forward to welcoming them back every month, and you can find out more about forthcoming talks at this link or by visiting the society’s page, linked from their name above.
From our point of view, this week has been useful to test out how our behind the scenes admin processes will work, from the basics of running out of hours events and dealing with new departments in the university to make that happen, to how long it takes to turn around the space between events, and what the spaces actually feel like when there’s a talk to over a hundred people going on! There are still inevitably tweaks to be made, and we’ve welcomed the valuable feedback from both organisations who have hosted events with us this week. Hopefully they will see the improvement in their next event, and other groups will benefit from them taking the time to work with us during this bedding in period.
I’ll close with our other exciting technological development that we’ve recently seen running in its home environment, and are excited about our visitors getting to use! If the still image below whets your appetite, you can view the video of it in action from our developers Wide Sky!