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Archives Centre newsletter - June 2020

8th June 2020 in Archives Centre, News and Events

outside of the Archives Centre

Current Service

The Churchill Archives Centre is currently closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, we are still able to offer a limited remote enquiry service and can be reached by email at archives@chu.cam.ac.uk.

We can also provide copies of some of our documents (dependent on access to existing digital copies). During the closure of the Archives Centre we are pleased to offer the first 50 copies for free, after which charging will be in line with our current price list.  

Do also check out our existing online resources which include selections from the Margaret Thatcher Papers, the Papers of Rosalind Franklin, the Churchill Papers and more.

 Archives Centre reading room

Plans for reopening

In recent weeks the Archives Centre has been busy working closely with Churchill College, and consulting with the wider university and other heritage organisations, to find a way forward for the team to be able to return to the Archives Centre. We have made good progress with our planning though we currently have no set date for the team to return.

Once members of the team are back onsite we will be able to offer an enhanced enquiry and copying service, details of which will be made available on our website.

We look forward to welcoming researchers back as soon as possible, but sadly this is likely to be the last phase of reopening the Archives Centre. In the coming weeks we will be carefully reviewing what adjustments are needed to our reading room and other spaces in order to be able to provide our services safely. The safety of the team, researchers and other visitors are paramount in our decision making.

Archivists' set up at home

Archivists' set up at home

Working from home

The Archives Centre team is currently working from home. Whilst this means that we don’t have access to our precious collections, it also means that we have an opportunity to work on projects that we may not otherwise had time to address.

Some examples of our home working projects are the transcription of Mary Soames's wartime diaries in preparation for publication next year (to be jointly edited by the Archives Centre and Emma Soames); cataloguing audio material digitised through the Unlocking Our Sounds Heritage project; cataloguing post 1992 Margaret Thatcher papers from digital copies; preparation of our catalogue data for the move to ArchivesSpace archive management system; and planning and assembling online exhibitions.  

We have also been maintaining a social media presence on Instagram and Twitter, even when the Archives Centre was operating with a skeleton staff.
Meanwhile, our collections are safe and sound. Our conservators have been working closely with college staff who are on site, and carrying out occasional physical checks to ensure this.

The newly refurbished reprographics room


Between December 2019 and February 2020 we made physical improvements to our reading room, reprographics room (for the team to produce digital copies of archive material), and storage for newly acquired papers (prior to sorting and cataloguing). We also created a new locker room for our researchers and had the lift to the reading room replaced.

All these building works were aimed at improving the services we can provide for readers and the care of our collections. We look forward to be back in our newly refurbished Archives Centre and welcoming you to the reading room as soon as possible.

Find out more: https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/news/2020/apr/3/refurbishment-churchill-archives-centre/

Writing competition

In April and May the Archives Centre ran a competition for school children to write a diary entry capturing life in lockdown. Open to 11-16 year olds, the Centre received 70 entries from around the country and about 50 of those are being added to the archive as a record of young people’s experiences during Covid-19. The letters and diaries will be anonymised and closed for 10 years. After careful consideration, the chosen winners were 16 year old Lizzie and 14 year old Serena.

You can read the winning diary entries on our website.

Find out more: https://www.chu.cam.ac.uk/news/2020/

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