This blog post is part of a series for Explore Your Archive.
Rule 1 of being a local authority Archivist. There is no typical day.
Rule 2 of being a local authority Archivist. You shall eat cake.
How does a typical day begin? The main point is that there is no such thing as a typical day. There are common elements. There will be researchers. Possibly, lots of researchers. But they’ll all be studying different things. Some will be absolute experts, others absolute beginners. There will be documents to interpret. Some of them easy, others less so. There will also be collections to work on, some of them interesting, and some of them the archival equivalent of a strong mug of Horlicks.
So, when throwing open the doors of the Archive, there’s a tangible sense of the unknown. Anything can – and on weekdays, probably will – happen. The carefully laid out diary is only an indicator of the fun to come.
And so, the doors open, the day begins. The day will be a mixture of searchroom duty and collections work. The first researchers arrive, a mix of regulars and eager, long distance travellers, itching to make the most of every moment. The regulars are like family, a mix of volunteers diligently transcribing old parish records and PhD students, slowly inching towards ‘writing up’. The new visitors hesitant, worried, in need of reassurance. Lockers are filled with belongings, and then, documents produced. History is grasped at hand.