Posted by: kbenoy | December 12, 2012

Project Review

As my penultimate blog post, I thought I would look back over the last 18 months at some of the highlights of the project.

The project began on 1st July 2011 and the first task was to get some understanding of the Smith, Son & Wilkie collection. I started by creating a box list to identify the items in the collection and by the end of July 2011 I was able to start creating the catalogue on CALM. I have been cataloguing records ever since! Cataloguing the Smith, Son & Wilkie collection has been the back bone of this project but today I am going to look back at some of the other aspects of project.

Events

I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to attend a variety of events to promote the project and Wolverhampton City Archives. These included:

Tour in the Searchroom

Heritage Open Day 2012

I would like to thank everyone I who invited me to be a part of their events and all the people I met and great stories I heard, which helped to improve my understanding of the collection and the history of Wolverhampton.

Volunteers

Another important aspect of the project was the team of volunteers who gave about 1,800 hours over the last 18 months to add great value to the project and assist with tasks including researching the businesses and families represented in the collection, basic conservation work and repackaging of records and the creation on indexes to make some of the records more accessible.

We were delighted to win the Archives and Records Association‘s Volunteer Award 2012 for the work of the volunteers on what the judges described as ‘an honest, positive and very well-managed project with excellent outcomes’. It was fantastic praise for the project and the work of the volunteers, which has really helped to make this project accessible and allowed the records to be put in context.

Volunteers, staff, the Mayor and ARA with the award

Volunteers, staff, the Mayor and ARA with the award

Looking back through the blog, there are too many posts about the work of the volunteers to list them all, but please take a look here to see how much their work has improved this project.

Conservation

One of the challenges with this project has been managing the conservation needs of the collection. Many of the records in the collection has suffered from being stored in damp or even wet conditions, which has led to substantial damage to many items.

We were lucky to receive a grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust to help pay for some of the conservation materials required for the project. Where possible I have tried to tell the story of conservation work on specific items in the collection through the blog including:

Jon cleaning the Samuel Small Mander - Trustees Ledger 1881

Jon cleaning the Samuel Small Mander – Trustees Ledger 1881

I would like to thank Jon Everall, professional Conservator at Wolverhampton City Archives for his help with the project despite the unending flow of records to his bench!

Next week, in the final blog post of the project I will be talking about the circle of archive life with new beginnings and endings.

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