Wednesday, 31 October 2012

School visits at The Hive

We recently welcomed children from a number of Worcester Schools to Archives and Archaeology in The Hive. They had all been invited to see the 'Beyond the City Walls' exhibition which has been on display in the studio and marked the end of the Worcester Archive Source Project, a project to catalogue and promote the Worcester City Archives.
The children enjoyed a tour around the Hive, spending some time in the 'Explore the Past' area looking at some of our resources, visiting the children's library and going upstairs to level four to get a good view of the gold cladding.
They also got the chance to see 'behind the scenes' as they went down into the strongrooms to look at Shakespeare's Marriage Bond, the Vernon Map book and some of our more unusual treasures (including a homeopathic medicine chest and a set of false teeth!). They visited the archaeology workrooms and saw some of the finds discovered when The Hive site was excavated.
After the tour we returned to the studio to listen to the memories of some of the people who have lived and worked on the site and the children became 'time detectives' using some of the evidence from the archives and archaeology to discover more about the site and its history.

Most of the children thought the building was 'awesome' and the Touch History table and the Sound Domes were particularly popular with everyone. We were asked lots of questions including 'can I bring Mum and Dad in to show them the Table?', 'can I come back in and look at the newspapers on those films' and 'do you have a favourite archive?' It is always a great experience to introduce new audiences to the resources held at the Archive and Archaeology Service and we look forward to more visits in the future.
We are now planning our long-term programme for school visits which will start in February 2013.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Worcestershire Archaeology Annual Dayschool 2012

Bookings are now open for the Worcestershire Archaeology Dayschool on Saturday 17th November. The popular one day conference, organised by Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service, will showcase the latest results from archaeological fieldwork and other research for the public.

 This year the conference will again be held at the University of Worcester (St John's Campus), on Saturday 17th November 2012.

The topics covered in the Dayschool will be wide-ranging, all with a strong local focus. Highlights will include the recent archaeological excavations of the medieval monk's cemetery at Pershore Abbey, and the discovery of the medieval stone bridge (and a Victorian cemetery) during the construction of the new flood defences at Upton. Enthusiastic archaeological groups are working with professional colleagues on a growing range of projects across Worcestershire, and there will be reports on some of these during the day, including an extensive project in the Wyre Forest. In recent years archaeologists have used new techniques to investigate ancient environments and landscapes in Worcestershire, and there will be chance to hear about the latest research, including new evidence from the site of the Worcester Arena.

The Dayschool will run between 9.45 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. The cost is £15 (including tea and coffee: bring a packed lunch).

If you would like a booking form please email and then return completed forms to the Hive Admin, The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester WR1 3PB.

For more details e-mail or phone 01905 766352

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Celebrating a quarter century working for the Archive Service

Dr Adrian Gregson, our Collections Manager, recently reached the milestone of working for 25 years with Worcestershire County Council. We asked him a few questions about his time here.

What job did you do when you joined Worcestershire Record Office (now part of Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service), and what did it entail?

It was Hereford and Worcester in those days. I was Supervisor in Central Filing, County Hall but I also did some searchroom work. I did other archivist work as well including field work collecting records, and of course visiting places across the two counties for talks and exhibitions. We were based next to the Motorways section so we learned a lot about the bridges on the M5 and M50 – seems ironic we are back with Highways again! [N.B. the Archive and Archaeology Service has recently moved under the new Business, Environment and Community Directorate at Worcestershire County Council, which means we now sit alongside the Highways Department amongst others].

How have things changed in the time you've worked here?

Technology is most obvious difference. I remember buying the first computers for our section with some trepidation. Also the whole concept of  filing, records management and retention scheduling has developed in the Council so that there is now much more acceptance of its importance and relevance. The old bar's gone now, and some of the old characters of the place. Some of them are still here – you know who you are!

What are your highlights, and/or your favourite document/archive?

Teaching a Chief Officer on a Family History evening class only 3 months into the job;  organising the first county local history fair; the first day we were allowed into the Hive last December.
Favourite archive: possibly a collection of photos of the Worcestershire Yeomanry in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War

What is your current role and what does that entail?

I am now Archive Policy and Collections Manager and Diocesan Archivist. I'm based at the Hive and lead a team which is responsible for collecting and cataloguing archives from across Worcestershire, as well as supervising document conservation and digitisation programmes.

Adrian is just one of a number of long-serving employees at the Archive and Archaeology Service, which just goes to show it's not a bad place to be!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

An update on our Outreach services and upcoming events

Regular users of our service may have noticed that our packed programme of events has been on pause. With our move to The Hive taking up so much time we had to curtail our activities. Quite a few people have contacted us to find out when our courses will be running and when we will have our events back up and running.

So what have we been doing? Paul, Su and colleagues who help with outreach have been busy helping colleagues with the move and then with settling into our new home and we concentrated on ensuring that all our visitors were helped to find their way around the Explore the Past area. We have managed a few activities though.

At the end of August we went to West Midlands Family History Fair at Sixways. We almost spoke ourselves hoarse as we spoke to many of you who had come along telling everyone about our new home. It was encouraging hearing about the positive reaction to our new home, and hopefully we managed to encourage those who were putting off visiting to come along and try us out.

During the summer we also organised a 'Worcester Stories' day where children could hear stories from the city's past. This was held to run alongside the 'Beyond the City Walls' exhibition in the Studio. The children loved it, and we hope that this will be the first of many events we run for children in The Hive.

We've also continued Walkpast, our popular series of guided walks, now in their 25th year.  Leigh Sinton and the Clent Hills have been visited amongst other places, with Wick to come this weekend.

A lot of our time is being spent planning next year's programme. Our new facilities provide new opportunities and we are also looking at new ideas, as well as continuing popular favourites, such as the Archaeology Day School (17th November). Keep checking back to find out what we have planned.