Today is the first day our new searchroom is open to researchers in Heritage Quay (our exploration space is sort of unofficially open, as our first exhibition is not installed until Wednesday). We’ve already had a number of bookings from people eager to jump back into researching our collections, and as ever, Rugby League and our political and music collections are proving popular with early researchers.
Our first researcher has in fact come from the other side of the world to look at the RFL archive! Has has not, of course, come specifically just to look at our archive (however important and exciting we believe ourselves to be!), it happens to be a happy coincidence that we have opened in time for him to visit us before he goes back to New Zealand. David Colquhoun is an historian who is writing a biography of New Zealand born rugby player, and successful all-round sportsman George Smith, and is doing research in archives across the North of England as part of his biography project. You can read more about this on his blog which is linked above. As he has a background working in libraries and archives, we’ve been grateful for his patience and professional understanding during our first morning!
We’ve already got a number of appointments booked in over the next couple of weeks and have had a few people walk in to the searchroom to make inquiries about collections which is great news as it seems the word about Heritage Quay is already spreading. This week is a bit of a soft opening as we work through our teething troubles and test our procedures, but if you’d like to see us up and running with the big curvy screen, multi-touch tables and fully installed, student-curated exhibition on the history of the university then please do pop in anytime from Tuesday 21st October. If you’d like to speak to one of the Archivists just pop into the searchroom and ask us, and we’d be happy to help!