This week is Explore Your Archive week, an annual celebration of archives across the UK and Ireland. It’s organised jointly by the National Archives and the Archives and Records Association. We are fortunate in this country to have not only amazing history but a wonderful record of documenting it. Books, TV documentaries, plays and the popular series Who Do You Think You Are? all rely on archives and the archivists and staff who help people find the materials they need to consult, and answer their questions. Rather than being the dusty places characterised by the media, Libraries and Records Offices, as Explore Your Archive explains, “excite people, bring communities together, and tell amazing stories”.
I’ve been exploring some of these archives myself as I researched my new book, co-authored with Susan Brock, The Story of the Shakespeare Club of Stratford-upon-Avon 1824-2016, and have indeed been surprised and excited by some of the stories we have uncovered. The Club’s surviving archives are kept at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Collections Department where we carried out most of the work. As a result I have been invited to write a couple of blog posts for the blog run by the Department, Finding Shakespeare. The first one has now been published and a second will be posted later in the week. Do follow the link to take a look, and if you’re not familiar with Finding Shakespeare, do read some of the other excellent posts about the Collections and the work being done there.
If you’d like to find out more about what’s going on in your own area, go to the Explore Your Archive website where you will find information about events, and on Twitter you can follow #explorearchives to get news about what’s going on.