What can you do with a trusty pencil, a clean sheet of paper, a clipboard and an archive? Well, the answer is draw! Many people pick up their sketchbook on their way out to galleries and museums – but not many people think to do so in an archive.
However, the Onsite Education team here at The National Archives hoped to change that with our recent learning workshop for families.
We decided to team up with The Big Draw to encourage our local families to pick up their pencils and sketch, doodle, scribble and draw their way through our collection. For their 2016 campaign, our friends at the Big Draw have struck upon the theme of STEAM power, ‘bringing together Science, Technology, Art, Engineering and Maths. STEAM recalls our Industrial past and the fusion of creative innovation, enterprise and the arts.â€™
In preparation for the event, and with â€˜STEAM Powerâ€™ as my mission, I set off to research documents which best represented this theme. The National Archives Flickr account is always my first port of call when embarking on research for family events, and it didnâ€™t disappoint me. What a glorious collection of delightfully draw-able documents! Propaganda posters, medieval illuminations, 19th century photographyâ€¦ Yet none of these seemed to quite fit our brief.
What better way to represent the successful blending of artistic and technical skill than a map? The craft of cartography surely relies on this combination to accurately and accessibly convey spatial reality. With our abundant collection of maps reaching over the six million mark, the challenge would be choosing which maps to draw. Continue reading »