Like a swan: serene on top, paddling furiously underneath.

Hello readers and apologies for the sudden hush that has descended onto this blog. It has been a very busy month, and blogging has had to take a back seat so that deadlines can be met. Most importantly though…

WE GOT THE BID!

Hopefully you will have heard this already, but we have been successful with our £1.57 million Heritage Lottery Fund Bid towards the £1.77 million Gateway to History Project.

Railway poster of "York: Gateway to History"

A mid-century railway poster which was part of the inspiration behind the Gateway to History archive project.

The York: Gateway to History project is the much bigger sister of York: A City Making History project. Whilst I’m cataloguing the civic archive to make it easier to use and more accessible, the Gateway to History project is about dramatically improving the service as a whole and securing its future as a major community archive for local users and the wider world.

This project includes building a new state of the art archive store at the central York Explore Library, refurbishing various spaces in the building and also carrying out a brand new programme of work connecting the archive with all the communities in the City to ensure we are collecting and representing the authentic and varied experiences of York’s people.

The project has taken several years to put together, and was masterminded by Richard Taylor, Archives and Local History Development Manager and his project team. The HLF is paying 88% of the project costs, a total of £1.57 million.

I’m so thrilled that the civic archive is going to get the new home it deserves, alongside all the other city records to which it relates, so anyone can get in there and use it in comfort, when convenient and be expertly supported by staff.

It’s a big deal for archives in the city, and it’s a privilege to be part of this new chapter in the long history of a world-class archive collection. Interested in getting involved? We are looking for local people to join a project advisory board (no special skills or experience required) and to become archive champions, so please email gatewaytohistory@york.gov.uk  if you’d like to find out more.

There will be phases of disruption to our service from January as we prepare to move out of the art gallery, into temporary storage and then build and move into the new store so check our website for up to date news and info.

My work has been steaming ahead in the meantime, and I have authority files coming out of my ears. Authority files are awesome, and I think they will be soo useful for understanding the records in future. It’s exciting to be stepping towards the actual physical cataloguing of the collection in the New Year, my first job when I get back is to plan the workflows of how we are actually going to do that!

Thanks for sticking around despite the silence, and I look forward to catching up with more weekly City Making History content in 2013. Have a lovely Christmas, whatever you’re up to (my plans involve a massive pork roast and learning to knit) and see you in the New Year.

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