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Volunteering to save history

Q. I AM really interested in my area’s past; could I help in any way by volunteering at the Record Office and Local Studies Library?

A. Indeed! We have a range of regular tasks that we would welcome help with: precisely what would depend on how often and for how long you wanted to spend with us.

Most volunteers only want to spend an hour or so a week with us and we’d love them to help us with a priority project – putting our card index to The Cumberland Pacquet newspaper on to a computer. A great tool for family and local historians as it includes many fascinating snippets from by-gone editions, including all birth, marriage and death announcements from the ‘paper’s start in 1774 until about 1855. The original index cards are stored in drawers and there is no other place for these but on the floor. Accessing the drawers’ contents therefore leaves many family historians ‘floored’! IT skills aren’t needed as staff are happy to show anyone interested what to do.

Other people have particular interests or targets. For those with a proficiency for reading old handwriting and taking detailed notes we can set small cataloguing tasks on sets of documents.

For those wanting work experience before further education or going back into the workplace, we can provide more concentrated periods of work where you’d find out about the range of tasks here; not just working on old documents, but helping the public access them in a variety of ways. If you would like to help out in any way we’d be delighted to hear from you on 01946 506420 or whitehaven.record.office@cumbriacc.gov.uk .

Your local Archive: Cumbria Record Office, Scotch Street, Whitehaven, CA28 7NL. See www.cumbria.gov.uk/ for opening hours.

By Catherine Clark
Published: August 26, 2010


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