If you happened to be walking past the library seminar room last Monday and wondered if you were witnessing preparations to combat the Viking apocalypse Ragnarok, predicted to take place this Saturday, never fear, it was just the latest batch of Archive volunteers getting to grips with some archives in need of some basic preservation!
Whilst we keep archive collections in special repositories where temperature and humidity are controlled, we often inherit collections that have been ‘in storage’ with their creators. Think about where your office or family keep their papers. Attics, cellars, offsite storage. In archives we’ve seen it all, and it usually comes complete with damp, pest damage and copious amounts of dust!! Little Britain might encourage it as an appetiser, but dust is certainly no good for your health. Many of the old Huddersfield Technical College student registers have spent decades in storage before coming to the archive, and the folders were covered with a thick layer of the stuff.
Our current batch of volunteers come from the History, Politics and the English department and some are volunteering as part of their course, others to see if a career in Archives might be for them. They will be helping us with a variety of tasks in the run up to the move to the new archives centre, and we’re very grateful for their help. Many archives nowadays rely on the support of enthusiastic volunteers, and we are no exception, although in return we hope to provide interesting and varied work and to involve people in the range of activities going on in a modern archives centre. All of our current volunteers were attending a Volunteer Induction Day, where we talked about how their work fitted in to our strategy map, introduced the Volunteer handbook and passed on some basic preservation skills using conservation equipment. Total folders cleaned by the end of Monday = 70! A fantastic achievement that makes a real contribution to the work the staff undertake in the archive every day.
We’ve worked hard to make sure that our volunteer opportunities fit in with ARA’s (Archives and Records Association – the professional body for archivists) policy on volunteering, and if you’re interested in finding out more about a career in Archives, the guidance on this page should be your first stop!