We just can’t do it alone! Volunteer appreciation day.

Whilst it’s not Volunteer’s Week in the UK (that’s June 1-7 if you’re interested), or International Volunteer’s Day (December 5), but every day is volunteer appreciation day at Huddersfield Archives! This Summer it has all been about locating collections, auditing collections, repackaging material and making sure everything is labelled and located prior to our big move (starts next week – yikes!). Whilst our staff team has grown by a factor of… a lot (I’m an Archivist Jim, not a mathematician!) there’s still no way we could have got to this point without help. Here’s where our amazing team of volunteers and student helpers come into play. They have gone right through our Collections Management Plan and ticked off some of the really big jobs. In fact, they have even completed some jobs we thought might not have been done until next Summer! Shhh. Knock on wood. I didn’t say that. It’s not very often we’re ahead in our ‘to-do’ list!

Some of them were with us a half day, a couple of days, some a week, some a few days a week over the whole Summer. Everything they’ve done has been vital to assisting us in getting to a point where our Strongrooms are tidier and everything is in boxes and located, so we can list it on our crazy move spreadsheets that allocates every box on an existing shelf to a precise shelf in the new repository. Alas we don’t have photos of all of them at work, but some of them were caught in the act! So huge thanks go to Steven, Gail, Alexzandra, Richard, Paige, Natasha, Helen, Chris, Nick, Eleanor, Andrew, Nicole, Adam and Matt, you’ve done sterling work!

Adam audits maps…

Helen handles sorting Rugby programmes…

Nicole and Matt clean registers…

Our student group clean even more registers…

Chris also cleaning registers (did I mention we have a lot of registers!)

Once we are settled into Heritage Quay we hope to be able to offer structured, project based volunteering to students and the wider community, and the Archivist’s are working with David, our Participation & Engagement Officer, and Sarah, our manager, to develop some guidelines and project roles for this. So if you’re interested in dipping your toe in Archives work, then keep an eye on the Heritage Quay website around Christmas time for more information!

Experiencing Work in the Archives

During my Year 10 work experience this week I have been delving into the mysteries of the University of Huddersfield Archives, leaving with an increased knowledge of the Rugby League Collection, and a greater familiarity with the professional activities of Archivists. I wasn’t sure whether I would find the work in this area rewarding, in fact there was a sense of accomplishment to digging up historical documents and artifacts, and then marvelling at the secrets and gems of knowledge they held.

Throughout the course of the week I was introduced to many aspects of an Archivist’s occupation, allowing me to more deeply appreciate their work. Assisting the Rugby League Archivist, I helped to preserve and conserve the treasures and artifacts of Dai Jenkins the legendary Rugby Player, handling a number of fragile materials. I have also contributed to the effort of listing and recording of many items in the Rugby League collection within the Archive.

The Dai Jenkins Collection before re-packaging.
The Dai Jenkins Collection before re-packaging.

I have also completed some conservation cleaning of student registers which date back to the 1930’s, which is part of the Archives five year collections management plan, and in preparation for the seismic endeavour (and that’s just the drilling outside the window!) that the Archive is undertaking in September, of relocating its entire collection to a new £2 million archive facility.

Cleaning the 1930s student registers of the Huddersfield Technical College.
Cleaning the 1930s student registers of the Huddersfield Technical College.

I go back to school with great memories of working with the University and Rugby League collections, and a greater proficiency in the work undertaken by the staff and appreciation of the world of archives. Making my time fun and enjoyable the staff took their time and treated me with equality as they allowed me to glimpse the potential and countless interpretations of archive collections.

~~~~~ Posted by Chris, Year 10