The annual closure period gives the Devon Archive team a great opportunity to undertake larger projects that they would not be able to tackle during normal opening hours. All of these projects help to enhance the service we can provide for the public.
Over the past few years we have developed a very valuable group of reliable and committed volunteers, who work in archives, local studies and conservation. On each day of the closure period up to nine volunteers worked on processing collections of records – some new, some much older – that required sorting, accessioning, cataloguing and storing.
This included a large amount of newly deposited material relating to the activities of Jean Shields, a local historian from North Tawton who recently died. Other collections included architects’ plans from the collection of Challices and a range of mental hospital case records.
In the Westcountry Studies Library we moved some books from their strongrooms to the local studies shelves in the searchroom to increase their accessibility, and sorted the library’s vast collection of Ordnance Survey maps.
Our conservation team worked on a range of projects and the Conservation Studio hosted a Disaster Recovery Training Day for staff from the Met Office Library and Archives, alongside our team.
Devon Remembers Heritage Project
Although the Devon Remembers Heritage Project has officially finished, work is continuing on one aspect of it, which is the copying and filing of extracts from contemporary newspapers. During the closure period they placed a series of filed and indexed extracts in the searchroom which relate to many different elements of life on the Home Front between 1914 and 1918. These should prove to be another great legacy of this outstanding project.