The Hull History Centre in Kingston upon Hull has been my home for the past seven months of my Transforming Archives traineeship. This traineeship appealed to me because of its digital focus and the opportunity to learn more about archives from the fantastic team at the History Centre. Having studied History of Art, Architecture and Digital Heritage at university, the subject of archives had been touched upon however I had never engaged in any practical archives work. My previous work had been in museums so I was interested in the differences between the two areas and to fill this gap in my knowledge.
Here’s a (very brief!) summary of what I’ve been doing and why working in archives is an enjoyable journey of discovery.
Creative outreach and architectural archives
Architectural archives have become my favourite theme as they have so much potential for creative outreach. It was a pleasant coincidence that the History Centre team were already working on a project based on architecture that matched my own interests.
Francis Johnson is an architect who worked on many buildings across the Yorkshire region. Johnson is of personal interest to me as we not only attended the same school, but I also recognise a lot of his buildings from my own childhood. His collection (U DFJ), currently being catalogued by Claire Weatherall, Project Archivist, under a National Cataloguing Grant, features an assortment of fascinating architectural plans which have provided us with an array of imaginative outreach opportunities that I have been fortunate to take part in during my traineeship.
One of these opportunities is History Makers, a monthly family event based on recreating objects and scenes inspired by the archives in Lego and craft. These sessions began with the architecture of Francis Johnson and have evolved into a variety of topics based on the collections held at the History Centre. I have enjoyed being taken nostalgically back to my childhood passion for craft by working with families to create objects from history.