Archives group

On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons several Friends are busy working away in the archive and small object store. We are helping to re-organizing and catalogue the collection held in there – over 1 million items and it is a massive job.

All this time and still working on the Williams collection!!
However, we have now been diverted onto another task. Many of the items stored at the Museum are about to be re-located to the Herbert. Before they go we are listing the contents of each box and checking accession numbers.

Work is now underway on cataloging the Williams collection, a hundred or so boxes of sales brochures, pages and cuttings from magazines, leaflets etc. covering vehicles from around the world. This is likely to keep us busy for a few months!!

After a break for Christmas and the New year work in the archives continues into 2013.
A couple of quite extensive donations of material have been made to the Museum and work has started on sorting and listing the first collection. The second collection is in secure storage awaiting valuation before work can start on this one.
Rosemary Thornhill who has been working with the clothing collection recently suffered a minor stroke and is unable to continue with her archive work for the moment. Our best wishes to Rosemary for a speedy recovery.
Another loss to the Museum is Archive and Information Curator Lizzie Hazlehurst. Lizzie has taken up a new Archivist role concerned with pottery, which is much closer to her home town allowing her much more time to be with her growing family. We have not seen the last of Lizzie as she has promised to give Friends a talk about her new role once she is fully up to speed.
Other work now under way is listing the contents of 20 or so boxes of sales material and catalogues from many different automotive suppliers.

Water leaks continue to be a problem after a really wet summer, but we manage to avoid any big disasters.
David Green, cataloging all the technical manuals and parts lists, suffered a stroke recently so this job is on hold. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope he can rejoin us soon.
Meanwhile 500+ auction catalogs from Bonhams, Christies, Sothebys etc. have been sorted, listed, and boxed. Duplicates have been extracted and stored with other duplicates.

Work was interrupted by another water leak which dripped onto a couple of shelves housing workshop manuals etc. These were rapidly re-located to other shelves while repairs were carried out. Elsewhere more magazines (aeronautical, off-road, and emergency services) are being boxed up which frees up more shelf space.

The Rootes Group donation has now been listed. Meanwhile an assortment of truck, bus, and commercial magazines has been re-organised and boxed, with any duplicates being removed.
On the 25th April the remaining Friends and volunteers who work in the archives completed their training session on collections documentation.

The SMMT collection has been received by the Museum and now resides on shelving vacated by removal of some duplicate magazines. Another donation, two suitcases full of Rootes Group reports, drawings, and photographs is now being sorted and catalogued.

Some of the duplicate magazines are now on the way to their new keepers, meanwhile another 300 plus duplicates from rows 8 & 9 have been extracted and listed ready to be offered to other museums. The remaining magazines from rows 8 & 9 are now being boxed-up and located on the shelves.

The poster collection is now in much better order, all photographed and listed. Now they have to be sorted into categories and filed away in separate drawers in the plan file cabinets. Similarly the computer database has to be reconciled.
Duplicate magazines are taking up most of the shelf space in rows 9A & 10A, waiting to be collected by other museums who have requested them.
Meanwhile, the odd magazines (around 300 different titles) and various papers scattered around rows 8 & 9 have been listed, and now need to be located in some sort of order rather than randomly.

It’s a bit like trying to work out a big, complicated puzzle! Some days it seems like a never ending task but we have a much better understanding of what is in there now. Priorities have been sorting out duplicate magazines (we have counted, listed and boxed over 11,000 of these now) and clearing space in our holding bay ready for new material coming in. Likewise the technical library has been sorted and duplicates listed.

By contrast Rosemary Thornhill is making body bags to keep the costume collection dust free, while John Redshaw is sorting, listing and photographing the poster collection.

Technical drawings from various vehicle manufacturers have also been sorted to some extent, but there is still more to do.