Thursday, 12 July 2012

And the rest is history...

Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that it has undergone a slight change, as we have relaunched the blog with the new name 'Explore the Past'.

The original blog 'Worcestershire Archives on the Move' was designed to inform our users of our progress throughout the move of the Record Office and History Centre to our new premises at The Hive. We have loved hearing your feedback on this blog over the last 10 months and it is great to know that many people have enjoyed finding out about our work via this new medium.

Whilst the blog was originally intended to run only up to the time of our reopening, we have decided that we will continue to run it in the future as a way for our users to keep up-to-date with news, activities, events and developments from the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service. We will carry on giving you glimpses of our work behind-the-scenes, and hope that you will continue to enjoy the light-hearted view into our world.

As the blog now represents both the Archive and the Archaeology aspect of our service, we have chosen a name that covers both areas. 'Explore the Past' is the name of the floor we occupy at The Hive (as using our huge range of resources allows you to do just that!), so we felt it was a fitting title here too.

We hope you will stay with us as we enter this new phase, and as always please get in touch if you have ideas of features you would like to see on the blog in the future.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The things you find hidden under stairs

Visitors to The Hive may have noticed something quite unusual under the main staircase, which is in fact a reconstructed Roman oven. This exciting feature has been installed in the building to give a glimpse into the work of the Archaeology Service.

The oven structure was discovered during the archaeological excavation at The Hive in 2008, which uncovered part of an extensive area of Roman occupation. This type of oven was used for drying harvested grain before storage, as well as for drying sprouted grain to make ale ('malting'). It was built in the late Roman period using masonry from ruined Roman buildings.

Here are some photos to show the process of installing the oven:

The finished product!

The oven has been installed thanks to the hard work of Archaeologist Chris Gibbs, Stonemason Lewis Allard and his assistant Joe Priest.

So, next time you visit The Hive make sure you take a look under the stairs and let us know what you think of this great feature.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

A new beginning

The Hive opened its doors for the first time on Monday and since then we have been welcoming a whole host of users, new and existing, into our service. It has been really enjoyable to see how people are reacting to the service and to hear the positive comments that people have about The Hive and the opportunities it provides.

Here's what has been happening over the last few days:

Above: The building on the morning of the opening

 Above: Crowds gathered outside to witness the opening. A brass band played a fanfare written for the occasion.

Above: The doors opening for the first time, with staff waiting inside to greet the visitors.
Below: Visitors arriving at our enquiry desk for the first time.

Some familiar faces came to see us.

Above and below: some regular users visiting for the first time.

To ensure all of our users can find their way around the new service, and to make sure they get the most out of their visit, we are now conducting New User Inductions for everyone who visits. We've had extra staff working in the searchroom to help conduct these. Comments so far have shown that users are finding these very useful.

 Above and below: staff conducting New User Inductions

Our staff have found the last few days to be a steep learning curve. We are familiarising ourselves with lots of new processes to make sure we can provide advice to all customers. As a joint service building we are also providing advice and services to public and university library users, so we are getting to understand their processes too.

Above: Lisa issuing her first library card to a customer 

We've also had some groups looking around the service for the first time. Here are some students from Birmingham University who were visiting the Archaeology Service:

We hope those of you that have visited us have enjoyed the experience so far. We are confident our service will keep improving over the coming weeks as staff and customers alike become familiar with the new processes.

Monday, 2 July 2012

We're Open

After years of planning, and months of hard work by our very dedicated staff we have finally reopened Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service at The Hive!

We're all excited and nervous in equal measure to see what the public and all our existing users think of the new service. The Hive offers a fantastic opportunity for people of all kinds to come and experience a wide range of activities. We are looking forward to seeing it in action at last and we hope to see you all here soon!