£1million funding for archive sector announced

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15 July 2021
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Just one section of the Archives Revealed shelving
The UK National Archives has today announced that the Archives Revealed funding programme will award £1million to archive services over the next three years.

Archives Revealed is a partnership programme between the Wolfson FoundationThe Pilgrim Trust and The UK National Archives, and is the only funding stream in the UK dedicated to cataloguing and unlocking archives. Launched in 2017, the programme provides grants of up to £45,000 for archives to create catalogues of important collections, as well as smaller scoping grants that fund expert advice on collections management and development.

The purpose of Archives Revealed is to 'open up significant archive collections to the public for research and enjoyment'. These collections represent the lives and perspectives of people all across the UK, and are key sources of information about our past and present.

Since its inception, Archives Revealed has funded a wide range of archive-holding organisations, from Glamorgan Archives and Lapworth Museum of Geology, to Seven Stories and Writing on the Wall. These cataloguing projects have all uncovered different stories that are engaging the public in new and different ways.

Jeff James, CEO and Keeper of The National Archives said: “At a time when the archive sector, like many other sectors, is going through a challenging time and looking for innovative ways to open up collections to a new and diverse audience, £1million will allow us to make more grants than ever before. This programme is a very real demonstration of how different organisations can make a huge impact when they work together.”

Archives in action

One example of opening up archives to the public is the museum Aerospace Bristol, who used their £29,000 grant to catalogue all 328 boxes in their archive collection, transforming this significant material into an accessible resource for everyone. In these newly available records, Aerospace Bristol has found stories of the supersonic airliner Concorde, its advocates and its critics. While detractors discussed the environmental impact of Concorde, early marketing material found in the collection describes how Concorde would cut journey times and connect people by shrinking the world.

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Aerospace Bristol built their travelling exhibition ‘The World Shrinker’ around this theme and attracted around 7,000 visitors to their marquee at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. They have also used the collection in new learning workshops and outreach activities, especially during the 50th anniversary of Concorde’s first flight. Researchers and the public can search the collection on The National Archives’ catalogue Discovery and visitors to Aerospace Bristol can now also interact with the collection at the Concorde Gallery archive station. 

As well as providing grants directly, Archives Revealed helps archive professionals to secure future funding by providing post-application support and building the funding skills and confidence of applicants. To ensure that Archives Revealed remains a supportive funder, the programme has recently reviewed its cataloguing grants, leading to a simplified first phase of the process and improved help and resources. 

Find out more about the Archives Revealed funding programme here.