TV programmes such as “House Through Time”, and “Who Do You Think You Are” have raised the profile of archives with the public in the past few years. Islwyn MP Chris Evans hopes that this will help more people will see that archives hold huge value for everyone, and encourage them to get more involved in their work.
The Islwyn MP is urging people this week to explore their local archives and experience the richness and variety they can offer, as we head into Explore Your Archives Week from the 20th – 28th November, a campaign that hopes to engage more people in the work of Archives, and promote their value.
“Archives are an incredible resource, not just for historians” Mr Evans said. They often contain hidden gems of our past that can be incredibly entertaining, from fashion trends and family histories, to political histories and popular culture.
“Archives are also vital methods of ensuring transparency” Mr Evans said. “In a world where misinformation and fake news is becoming a larger problem, archives are a way of making sure that histories or events can be properly interrogated, and that stories can be fully told.”
Mr Evans believes that support of archives is vital to make sure that they can continue to collect, conserve and research materials. Public engagement programmes and ongoing acquisition strategies mean that archives aren’t just for ‘old stuff’ and many archives work with local communities to ensure that the voices of the present are saved for future historians.
Mr Evans said
“Archival material has been vital to tell, for instance, the histories of women, or people of colour. Stories and histories which were left out of textbooks and the public memory for far too long.
“Without the work of archivists, it would have been far harder to tell these stories and bring them into the light. So I urge people to explore what their local archives have to offer, and to support their work, so that such stories can continue to be told.”
Explore Your Archive is on the three main social media platforms:
The website provides additional resources and a host of fascinating blogs from archives across the UK and Ireland https://www.exploreyourarchive.org/discovering/