Hold the phone! Millennials in the archives? Surely not? What place is there for youths and their smartphones in a dusty deluge of ancient documents and film stock? Little did you know that my handy dandy smartphone, amongst other gizmos and gadgets, is revolutionising how we do things here at Hampshire Record Office, with social media coming to the forefront of how we communicate with you. So join me and my smartphone on an insta-worthy little tour in pictures of the nooks and crannies of the Wessex Film and Sound Archive.
But first! A little background …
I’m a graduate at Hampshire County Council as part of the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP). This public sector scheme aims to mobilise the next generation of local government managers. And with transformation being the agenda of the moment, with the focus often leaning more heavily towards social care, our local archive is certainly not where I anticipated ending up when I first started! But with a background in film and cultural management, the Wessex Film and Sound Archive, which is housed here at Hampshire Record Office, was a particular draw.
As you can probably imagine, my university background makes me a bit of a film geek, so spending days amongst cans of film stock and DVDs make me a very happy bunny!
This shelf of DVDs represents the tiniest portion of the 36,000 items or so we actually have in the collection. But on their own they include coronations and festivals, military exercises, a visit from Amelia Earhart and WWII newsreels. I’m still exploring the full collection, but this shelf alone represents defining moments in the history of both Hampshire and the country. My ongoing adventures into the collection have turned up such gems as the pram Olympics in Portsmouth (amazing what people did for fun in the 70s!), cartoons about bunnies in the New Forest and old ads from the 50s. I can almost guarantee that if you can think of a topic, it’s probably represented somewhere in the archive.
Whilst there’s a huge collection of DVDs to dive into, many items in our collection are not stored on easily viewable formats. Our technicians work tirelessly to digitise the collection, making everything as easy to view as possible for our customers.
I confess, whilst I find it all fascinating, I’m not terribly technically inclined. Best if I stay away from any big red buttons!
The digitisation project is allowing us to share more content with you than ever before, which is why our social media platforms are the place to be right now. Our YouTube channel is slowly filling up with a variety of archive film that’s available to view for free, and our Instagram is a hotspot for cool stills and short clips.
Trust me, there’s plenty more to see. Archives aren’t as daunting as they sound, I promise!
Who knows what you might uncover?
Ashleigh Moore, Graduate Management Trainee