Explore York Libraries and Archives, as well as the fantastic civic archive, also holds a whole range of collections created directly by York’s diverse communities and activities. These collections include those from local groups, societies, businesses and families from the 14th Century through to today.
The Gateway to History project is setting the foundations for ongoing work to improve access to these community collections. There has never been an online catalogue of these collections before so a lot of the content has been difficult to find out about. From Parish Councils to protest groups, art societies to advice services these collections give a whole new perspective to life in York, and over the next few years we will be working to make these collections more accessible to everyone.
There is a lot to explore in the collections we already have, but we know that there is so much more going on across the city that we should be recording and mapping for future generations. So, we are developing long lasting connections between the Archive service and the community, offering Explore York Archives as a place of deposit for some types of collections. Holding more community collections at Explore will increase the recorded memory of the city and reflect it’s ever growing diversity.
It’s not all about the collections we look after at Explore. Through our community work we’ve realised that many community groups have the enthusiasm, skills and spaces to manage their own archives. We’re currently developing the professional support and guidance to turn their ideas into reality, recording the memory of the city in a way which is community led.
As collections become more accessible we’ll keep you updated via this blog. Through providing access and sharing our collections we hope everyone can discover something new, and learn how York’s communities have shaped our historic city.