Over the past few years, I have become rather fond of archives. As I wrote in my post The Joy of Archives, I’ve always had a fondness for old clothes as touching a piece of the past is a powerful window into history. Whilst looking at images of what people used to wear is fascinating; being able to feel the fabrics and look at the construction has always filled me with utter excitement. Even the smell of clothing that hasn’t been worn for years is thrilling, because it’s the smell of discovery. In an archive, there’s always something exciting to discover but most people don’t know anything about their local archives or what they could find out there. That’s why I think that Explore Your Archive is a wonderful idea.
Explore Your Archive is a joint campaign delivered by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association across the UK and Ireland. It aims to showcase the unique potential of archives to excite people, bring communities together, and tell amazing stories. Usually held for a week in November, the campaign showcases the phenomenal archival collections held by organisations across the UK and Ireland, whatever their size and scale, and wherever they are.
Two archives that I can highly recommend visiting are London College of Fashion Archives and The M&S Company Archive at the University of Leeds. I’ve also seen a few objects from the UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre, based at London College of Communication in Elephant & Castle, which houses The Stanley Kubrick Archive. Fascinating stuff!
The launch week of Explore Your Archive is 14th-22nd November 2015.