Archive News March 2019

When you first decide to become an Archivist you generally have a vision that you will end up working in a basement surrounded by stacks of paper, never to be bothered by another living human. To my surprise, and in spite of the jokes still aimed at me, this is not actually the case. Being an Archivist is largely about making our Collections available to people and encouraging conversation around them. This involves both physical and digital outreach activities.

My name is Mollie and I take care of the digital outreach undertaken by the BMIHT Archive with the invaluable help of Marketing Officer, Luke Hudman. I scour the photographic archive for content while the rest of the archive team passes on interesting documents to me to scan and clean up.

Katie shows Mollie one of her recent finds in the Sales and Press Collection, soon to be shared with our followers on Flickr.

Once the material is ready, I can send the scans over to Luke who manages the social media output for all departments including the museum, education and workshop teams. This means that we need to co-ordinate to make sure that everyone has equal output. To do this we use the online calendar provided by Gmail. I can see when Luke has posts already scheduled and arrange the archive posts accordingly. Some posts, like our Flickr Friday feature which appears weekly, are scheduled for the whole year ahead. As well as managing content for different departments, he manages which content is posted to which channel.

Luke manages the website content. They say the number and size of screens you have reflects how important you are…

Most of our images are on the BMIHT Archive Flickr page. We use this as an image gallery where we can post historic photographs and people can browse them at their leisure. The reason for posting on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is entirely different – it is to start conversations about the work the archive does and the material which we hold. We like to post images of social history, particularly people and places which might evoke memories. We also make a point to try and commemorate significant days like the World Cup, Mother's Day and Easter. This is great fun as I often find some funny images, particularly from the 1970s, which have the whole office in gasps or giggles. It's great when people post comments, showing it has sparked their interest, or even give us information we didn't already know about the pictures.

Our Instagram feed, where you can see archive images alongside pictures of the museum or the Explainers giving a performance.

My favourite is our Instagram feed as it's full of wonderful images, both historical and of the work which we're doing now. Here you can see images of a 1960s Lucas advertisement, the two millionth Austin car produced and the damage inflicted on the Wolseley factory by a bomb during World War Two. We also posted an image of the Morris Minor to celebrate 70 years since it was unveiled at the Earls Court Motor Show as well as the 'K' from the top of Longbridge's main entrance at K Gate, which was lovingly restored by Cath, our Conservator, and is now on display in the museum.

You can view all our feeds by clicking on the icons below. Don't be afraid to comment, I love to know what you think and what you'd like to see from the archive next!

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