The Hive: celebrating our first anniversary

  • 2nd July 2013

Today marks one year since The Hive opened its doors to the public and we welcomed in our first customers to the Archive and Archaeology Service. It has been a very busy year that has seen staff and our customers adapting to a completely new way of operating, but it has nevertheless been a resounding success. We are incredibly proud of the service we have to offer the public and to mark the anniversary here are some of our highlights from the past 12 months.

Visitor statistics: In its first year of opening The Hive has had almost 950,000 visitors. We’ve welcomed many people to our new service since opening, as you can see from our user figures:

40393 visitors to the Explore the Past floor on Level 2 4344 visitors signed in to view original archives

1157 first time visitors to view original archives

8029 original documents issued

2711 visitors signed in to use our Historic Environment Record

It is fantastic to see how many first time visitors we have had and we are sure that our more accessible location in The Hive has played an important part in bringing in a new range of users to our service.

Outreach: Our Outreach team have been working incredibly hard in delivering our services to a broad range of people to help encourage the use of the Archive and Archaeology Service for both educational and leisure purposes. So far their activities have reached a whopping 6814 people – which includes behind-the-scenes tours, workshops, school visits, historical walking tours, family and local history training sessions and Worcestershire Young Archaeologist Club activities.

We have worked with the University of Birmingham to develop the Touch History Table, highlighting our resources in a new and exciting way. This attracts a lot of attention from visitors to Level 2 of The Hive, particularly younger users. In fact the table is such a success that we were nominated in the Innovations category of the 2013 Museums + Heritage Awards. 

Archive deposits: We have had a total of 145 new deposits of records, which our Collections Team are now working to accession and prioritise for processing. Highlights of our recent deposits include papers relating to the Freedom of the City being granted to Winston Churchill, CDs of the World of Kays oral history project, diaries kept by Albert Clarke of the Worcester Yeomanary dating from 1916-1918 when he was a prisoner of war in Turkey and records of the Worcester Girl Guides.

Historic Environment Record: The Historic Environment Record have been busy adding new and edited records to their already extensive resource, with a huge 13004 records added since we opened to the public last year. This has been a significant year for our HER team too as they have opened a staffed HER public service for the first time, and for more hours than any other organisation in the country.

Digitisation: Our Digitisation team have had their busiest year to date and have continued to work tirelessly on external projects along with requests from users in our public searchroom, which have doubled since we opened at The Hive. Projects they have been working on include the digitisation of Shropshire’s parish registers; working with Warwickshire’s Historic Environment Record to digitise thousands of aerial photographs dating from the 1940s to 1960s, along with 9000 slides amd working with the library to digitise important pieces including the John Gould collection, Blackwell’s Herbal and even Samuel Johnson’s dictionary. If you would like to discuss orders please contact John France, our Senior Digitiser.  

A page from the Imagines Deorum et Hominorum, digitised by our team

An image taken from Gould’s Birds of Australia Supplement, digitised by our team 

Conservation: This year we successfully recruited a Conservator, Rhonda, who is responsible for looking after the in-house conservation needs of our collection of historic archives. This is the first time Worcestershire has had a Conservator since 1998 when the Hereford and Worcester county was split – it is also the first time we have ever had a on-site Conservator, so we are really pleased to welcome her here! Rhonda is also able to provide advice and preservation and repair work to external customers so contact us if you would like more information.

?Rhonda working in the Conservation suite

Volunteers: We are incredibly grateful for the small army of volunteers we have working for us who have contributed a total of 2665 hours since we opened. They really add so much value to our work in carrying out tasks that we would otherwise be unable to give time to, so thank you to each and every person who has dedicated their time to our service.

Volunteers helping with the task of washing finds

Archaeology Field team:

The Field Archaeology Section (also known at Worcestershire Archaeology) of our service, works to  provide expert support for the Council’s core heritage services, facilitated through undertaking archaeological and other projects. The Field team’s move to The Hive was seamless and their work continued uninterrupted – the team simply left the University in the morning, and headed back to The Hive at the end of the day! Ninety projects have been completed by the team over the past 12 months. This is not to mention the work the team has done providing advice on historic buildings, presenting papers at national conferences, running the Archaeology Dayschool, maintaining the County Fabric Series (an online resource on the types of historic pottery that can be found in the county), giving Hive tours and talks to groups, providing advice for police forensic experts and setting up a finds identification service. The team are also busy progressing with the analysis of the results of The Hive archaeological excavation; this is a large and complex task as some 20,000 sherds of pottery were recorded in detail. Perhaps the best discovery we have made in the county this year was the remains of a medieval (and possibly earlier) mill  

An excavation revealing remains of a medieval mill

This past year has been both busy and exciting in the new opportunities it has provided for our service. We look forward to the year ahead and hope you will join us in one of the many aspects of our work.?

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