Archives across the country open their doors

Explore Your Archive week (10-16 November 2014) is a nationwide celebration of archives and a chance for local communities to discover the treasures on their doorstep.

Organised by The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) and The National Archives, the campaign aims to demonstrate how absolutely central archives are to our understanding of history.

Without records there would be a gaping hole in our culture where our memory should be. We’d know nothing of Turner beyond his pictures, nothing of Keats beyond his poems, nothing of the everyday struggles of our ancestors at all. The wonderful flowering of social history in the past half century would have never been, and history would be stripped back down to a timeline of kings, queens, wars and politicians.

The archives of local authorities and government departments are just a starting point – businesses, schools, universities, charities, religious and cultural groups all preserve records. As a result, the organisations participating next week include the Cadbury Research Library in Birmingham, the Royal Academy of Dance and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, as well as many museums, local record offices, and city and county archives.

Visit the campaign website to see what activities are taking place near you. The message is that archives are places of adventure and discovery, opportunities to step beyond the world of Google and get hands-on.

However, there is a digital aspect to the campaign with a week-long Twitter campaign (watch out for Wednesday 12 November when you can tweet with archivists directly, using the #askarchivists hashtag).

Posted 6 November 2014.

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