June edition of the Staffordshire Archives & Heritage Update

Staffordshire Archives and Heritage
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Volunteers working with the Archive and Heritage Team

Collections Officer Melanie and volunteer Faith working with the museum ephemera collection

Welcome 

Welcome to the June edition of the Staffordshire Archives and Heritage newsletter.

There has been plenty to occupy the Archives and Heritage team this month. The annual report has been published, digitisation of the tithe maps is well underway, a new touring exhibition is about to be launched and we have even found time for a bit of light dusting! 

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Staffordshire History Day, May 2019

Annual Report

The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Joint Archives Committee approved the Annual Report at their meeting on 13th June 2019. The report shows how the Service has progressed during the last year and highlights its key achievements.

The key highlights were:
• Opening the new Lichfield History Access point in December 2018 which has welcomed lots of new visitors.
• Completing the Doulton Described project opening up access to this important collection.
• The conclusion the WW1 centennial commemorations with a very successful project to digitise the Jake Whitehouse collection.
• Achieving a step change in digital preservation through participation in the Archives West Midlands regional project and acquiring the Preservica system.
• Securing funding for the County Asylums project from the Wellcome Trust
• Securing funding for the Bawdy Courts project from the Archives Revealed grant.
• Maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and numbers of compliments.
• Sustaining attendance levels to events, talks and group visits.

The report acknowledges the work of the staff in the Service, the Joint Committee members, and the extensive support received from the 155 volunteers and the Friends of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service (FoSSA). The report is available to read online here.


On Your Doorstep Exhibition Image Montage

History On Your Doorstep

A new touring exhibition will launch on 16th July at Cannock Library. 'On Your Doorstep' explores the rich collections held by the Archives and Heritage Service. The exhibition will feature local objects and documents at each venue, highlighting specific items from across the collections. In addition poet Mal Dewhirst will be hosting a series of Creative Conversations throughout the tour and the Heritage and Archive Team will be on hand to digitise photographs from members of the public and add them to the Staffordshire Pasttrack website. The first Digital Drop-In session will take place at Cannock Library on Thursday 15th August between 10am and 4pm. Full details and dates of the tour and associated events will be available via the library venues and this newsletter. 


Staffordshire Record Office – Change to Opening Hours

In the recent consultation with service users on the options for reduction in our opening hours from 37 to 25 hours per week, Option A was the clear winner (90 out of 164 votes).
Consequently our opening hours will change from Monday 22 July, which will allow a period of four weeks to publicise the change.
• Tuesday: 10.00 – 4.00 (6 hours)
• Wednesday: 10.00 – 4.00 (6 hours)
• Thursday: 10.00 – 4.00 (6 hours)
• Friday: 10.00 – 4.00 (6 hours)
• Saturday: 9.00 – 1.00 (one per month) (1 hour) – third Saturday of the month, to avoid clashes with bank holidays


Tithe Map Digitisation Project

Digitisation of 276 tithe maps started on Tuesday 12 June in the Learning and Archive Resource Centre at Staffordshire Record Office, and considerable progress has been made already.

Many thanks to FoSSA for co-ordinating the fundraising effort which drew in donations from a wide range of organisations, such as parish councils, local history societies and Women’s Institutes as well as individuals and businesses.

The digitisation team from Icam are using a new 150 mega-pixel camera. Ours is the first project to benefit from this state-of-the-art piece of kit! The maps are laid on a rolling flatbed which moves beneath a fixed camera gantry. Some of the maps are very large – the largest is 3.0 m x 2.4 m, which requires imaging in 12 sections. The second stage of the process is to “stitch” these images together to create a seamless image for the whole map. The project will be completed by the end of August.

The maps will be made available to view on the Libraries public network.

Our volunteer groups are using the Microform Room while the digitisation is going on.

Tithe Map Digitisation Project

Tithe map digitisation project equipment operated by Jon ColcloughPenkridge Tithe Map D4787-D-1A

Penkridge Tithe Map D4787-D-1A


Cleaning larger objects in the collections store

Senior Museum Officer Chris working on one of the larger objects, a Body Brake in the carriage collection

Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Keeping things Clean

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of preventing damage and infestation in the Museum Collections is keeping the objects clean. This isn't always an easy task as many of them are rather large! The new collection store is our first line of defence in the battle against the build up of dust and grime. The building itself is a clean space with little opportunity for allowing dust and dirt to accumulate. Regular vacuuming of the floor areas with our industrial size cleaner helps with this side of things. But some dust is inevitable and we try to reduce this from building up on the surfaces of items. The huge vacuum cleaner is not an option here. Instead we use small hand brushes together with a conservation vacuum cleaner which gently sucks up the dust as we remove it with the brush. Less dust means less likelihood of the pests and problems that go with it such as carpet beetle in exposed textiles or abrasive particles on paintwork. The museum team are certainly a house proud bunch when it comes to keeping the collections clean.


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