The ‘Community Archives: Skills, Support & Sustainability’ project has been set up by the Norfolk Record Office with the aim of providing Norfolk’s community archive and local heritage groups with advice, training and resources to help them improve the management of their important and unique collections. Since 2020 the project team has worked closely with over 30 partner groups. During International Archives Week, we will showcase a selection of these groups and the progress they have made during the project.
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is an old adage, so a thousand pictures must be worth… a whole library? And that is about the number of photos the Mulbarton Heritage Group has collected over nearly 20 years, first for a now-defunct website, then for ‘The Book of Mulbarton’ and now many are displayed at https://www.mulbartonhistory.org.uk/ They are on CDs and a succession of laptops. There are duplicates and pictures of varying quality. There are notes about most, but not everyone depicted has been identified – and they are all randomly numbered.
The pandemic was the death-knell of the Heritage Group – unless others keen on local history decide to revive it. And should I or my laptop ‘bite the dust’ then those pictures could be lost for ever. So the Community Archives Project was timely – enabling us to learn a way to sort and organise our photo collection and give access to high-resolution copies to people world-wide. My somewhat random numbering system has been transformed into ‘accession numbers’ and the information in the notes on each photo has been transformed under headings that match other catalogue systems.
The project also brought us in contact with other local groups, and the shared information has added to our knowledge of Mulbarton’s past. As the older generation passes on, it seems even more important to find a home for their memories and photos – and important that that information should not just stay local but reach the world.
Jill Wright, Mulbarton Heritage Group
If you wish to know more contact details for Mulbarton Heritage Group are available on their website.
Hello! Representing a Norfolk Local History Group, could you please advise how we can access this support? Many thanks Bar Pritchard
Sent from my iPad
Hi Bar, Thanks for your question. I will ask Robin, the project co-ordinator, to get in touch with you in the first instant.
Yes, there are a lot of us on here who would love to know where we can get support. It is a shame that individuals can’t access funding too, as I have a collection of thousands of photographs and documents which would benefit from cataloguing and adding to a digital archive.
I have spoken to Robin and he suggested having a look at some of the online resources the project created. The resources include the Toolkit Community archives toolkit (https://www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk/community-archives) and some videos which can be found on the Community Archives: Skills, support and Sustainability playlist of the Norfolk Record Office YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIR5duwYdmi_ZyZi7yn7RNvBrd5bEkrpB).
The are also running an ‘Archives Surgery’ event at Long Stratton library between 12 and 4 on Wednesday 30th June, which you are very welcome to drop in to.
Unfortunately, there is no capacity to take on any more groups formally but Robin is happy to have a chat via phone. If you would like him to ring you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and mark it for attention of Robin Sampson.
Finally, we are hoping that they may be more funding available for groups in the future, so please watch this space!