The Archives and Records Association, Ireland (ARAI) has today (17.11.16) launched its fourth annual Explore Your Archive week, a campaign to increase awareness of the essential role of archives in society.
Run jointly with the Archives and Records Association in the UK, archives services will open their vaults and display hundreds of unique collection items from Saturday, 19th November to Sunday, 27th November 2016.
The campaign seeks to encourage people to discover the stories, facts, places and the people that are at the heart of Ireland’s communities. Organisations participating in Explore Your Archive include business, university, state, military and specialist archives, both north and south of the border.
As part of the campaign, archivists, record managers and conservators will host talks, workshops, exhibitions and tours of their collections. A focus of this year’s campaign will be the growing importance of online archiving and the digitisation of valuable collections. As such, a number of participating archives will introduce recently digitised collections and ‘story boxes’, small online exhibitions on particular topics highlighting what researchers can discover in Ireland’s archives.
Events taking place during Explore Your Archive 2016 include:
- ‘1916: Tales from the Other Side’, a new exhibition exploring minority experiences of 1916 hosted by Marsh’s Library.
- The National Archives of Ireland will host a talk on the newly published Report of The Survey of Hospital Records in Ireland. The talk will draw together archivists and historians to discuss the current state of Irish medical archives.
- The Irish Architectural Archive will open the new exhibition ‘House and Home’, featuring more than 40 original architectural drawings, models and photographs of residential projects in Ireland.
- A ‘story box’ to mark the 70th anniversary of rural electrification, including previously unseen photographs and other documents, will be launched by ESB Archives.
- Dublin City Library and Archive together with Near FM will host a workshop to showcase the Near FM Archive, a digital audio archive with a particular emphasis on local arts, music, news, history, heritage and community events. The Archive has also generated the exhibition ‘Dublin Remembers: Stories from the Somme’, focusing on personal stories of individual Irish men who fought at the Battle of the Somme, as well as seminars on popular theatre and on the First World War and the Somme with a range of expert speakers.
- The IBVM (Loreto) Irish Province Archives will launch the new online exhibition and digital collection ‘Loreto 1916’ during Explore Your Archive week 2016. The exhibition captures the bewilderment, anxiety, fear and hunger of the Loreto Sisters and their pupils caught in the midst of the Easter Rising, as they sheltered from stray bullets, coped with food shortages, threatened evacuation, and watched Dublin city centre burn.
- The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland will launch a unique ‘story box’ on the RCSI during 1916 and the death of RCSI graduate Charles Hachette during the fighting. The story box also discusses how archival material relating to Charles’s life was discovered following a call-out via social media to try and locate any relatives who may be able to put a face to his name.
Felix Meehan, Outreach Officer, Archives and Records Association, Ireland, said: “The Explore Your Archive campaign aims to shine a light on the dedicated work of archivists contributing to the collection, storage and maintenance of an astonishing wealth of historical records, and to entice members of the public to visit their archives and explore these rich collections. From letters, reports, minutes, registers and maps to photographs, films, sound recordings and digital files and websites, Ireland’s archives hold something of interest and inspiration to everyone.
“As part of this year’s campaign, we want to emphasise, in particular, the growing importance of the digitisation of records and the harvesting of information published online. Our lives are increasingly spent online and it is therefore important to reflect this in the approach to preserving our cultural heritage and making it widely accessible.
“Many engaging online exhibitions and digitised collections are being launched as part of Explore Your Archive this year by a range of participants, including the Irish Traditional Music Archive, the IFI Irish Film Archive, Cork City and County Archives and many more. Additionally, the National Library of Ireland will host a talk outlining how it is capturing, preserving and making available the websites that tell the story of the 2016 commemorations for future generations.”
Ambassador for the Explore Your Archive 2016 campaign, Catherine Murphy TD commented: “Ireland is home to many archival organisations which hold a vast variety of highly interesting collections. These collections are a real treasure trove for everybody looking to find out about national and local history and offer invaluable glimpses into the stories of the past.
“All materials stored in our public archives belong to the people of Ireland and are freely available for consultation by all. By its very nature, archiving and record-keeping are important ongoing tasks and crucial for the preservation of our rich national heritage. It is essential that records are adequately stored and maintained to ensure access for future generations. I encourage everybody to explore and use the archival resources available to them and be taken on a journey of discovery.”
More information on the Explore Your Archive 2016 campaign and full details on all events are available atwww.learnaboutarchives.ie; on Twitter: @archivesireland, #ExploreArchives; or on Facebook:www.facebook.com/ARAIreland.