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November 11, 2015
Irish public invited to discover the past during Explore Your Archive Week


Wednesday, 11th November 2015

Irish public invited to discover the past during Explore Your Archive Week

-Campaign highlights potential of archives to bring communities together and tell amazing stories-

The Archives and Records Association, Ireland (ARA,I) has today (11.11.15) announced the launch of the third annual Explore Your Archive week, a campaign to increase awareness of the essential role of archives in society. Run jointly with the Archives and Records Association in the UK, archives services will open their vaults and display hundreds of unique collection items from Saturday 14th November until Sunday 22nd November 2015.

Organisations participating in Explore Your Archive include local, business, university, military, specialist and national archives. As part of the campaign, archivists, record managers and conservators will host talks, workshops, exhibitions and tours of their collections. The Explore Your Archive website will also feature ‘story boxes’, small online exhibitions on particular topics highlighting what researchers can discover in archive services.

Events taking place during Explore Your Archive 2015 include:

  • ‘An afternoon down theatre’s memory lane’, an introduction to some of the rich holdings kept by the Irish Theatre Archive at Dublin City Library and Archives.
  • Trinity College Dublin’s Manuscripts & Archives Research Library will focus on the Decade of Commemorations, including a light installation of portrait images and talks on World War I.
  • Louth County Archives will host an archive collection day in relation to the Irish Volunteers and the Easter Rising, at which members of the public can visit to donate and register archive items.
  • The seminar ‘Gallipoli: Perspectives’ will take place at the National Library of Ireland. Five speakers will offer five perspectives on the Gallipoli Campaign and its aftermath.
  • The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) will launch a ‘story box’ on the 1916 Rising and the RCSI. It will also host the special exhibition ‘Surgeons and Insurgents – RCSI and the Easter Rising’ with accompanying public lectures.

Senator David Norris, ambassador for the Explore Your Archive 2015 campaign, commented: “History paints a fascinating picture of how we got to where we are today. The Explore Your Archive campaign brings to life the people and stories of our past. Without archives, we would simply not be able to study our personal histories, or indeed the histories of our communities or nations.

“This campaign encourages people who haven’t previously explored their local archives to do so. Engaging with these pieces of the past makes history tangible and you never know what you might discover. History is a great source of knowledge and lessons learnt in the past should be leveraged to inform decisions that have to be made today.”

Fergus Brady, Outreach Officer, Archives and Records Association, Ireland, said: “Explore Your Archive showcases the phenomenal archival collections held by archives in Ireland and the UK, whatever their size and scale. We all benefit from archives and we want more people to understand and value the richness and diversity of Irish archives available to them. There are so many kinds: in local authorities and governments, in businesses, in schools and universities, in charities, in private houses, in cultural organisations, all playing their part in keeping information safe and accessible.

“This year marks the third annual Explore Your Archive week and we are delighted that over 30 organisations from across Ireland will offer a wide range of exciting activities for visitors to participate in – both online and offline. Whether you are interested in social history or issues such as poverty and the role of Irish women in the past, or want to find out more about the Easter Rising or Irish involvement in World War I – there will be something for everyone to explore.”

Dublin City Library and Archives is one of the many organisations participating in the campaign. Speaking at today’s launch, Ellen Murphy, Archivist at Dublin City Library and Archives, said: “We are delighted to participate again in this year’s Explore Your Archive week. We have an exciting programme of events lined up, ranging from talks on archived materials of 1916 to an introduction to collection items kept in the Irish Theatre Archive which forms part of Dublin City Library and Archives.”

“In previous years, our events have met with great public interest and we have been able to introduce visitors to our collections which weren’t previously aware of our work. We look forward to welcoming many new visitors through our doors again this year.”

Throughout the Explore Your Archive week the ARA,I will be coordinating a social media campaign to encourage the public to discover their local archives through Facebook and Twitter, including a social media ‘Thunderclap’ on Monday 16th November. Users of archives can join the Thunderclap at www.thunderclap.it/projects/33466-explore-your-archive.

Explore Your Archive will be formally launched by campaign ambassador Senator David Norris at the Freemasons’ Hall, Dublin 2, at 6pm, tomorrow, 12th November. The event will also feature the launch of the new online resource pack ‘The present duty of Irishwomen’ by the Irish Archives Resource (IAR), an online portal which contains searchable archival descriptions of collections held by archives services all over Ireland.

More information on the Explore Your Archive 2015 campaign and full details on all events are available at www.learnaboutarchives.ie; on Twitter: @archivesireland, #ExploreArchives; or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ARAIreland.


Contact: Sebastian Enke / Louise Archbold, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-3239496 / 087-2601145

Notes to Editors

  • Media interviews with Fergus Brady are available on request.
  • Photographer Leon Farrell has been commissioned to cover this event and will issue photos to photodesks later this afternoon.

About Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland

The Archives and Records Association is the lead professional body for archivists, archive conservators and records managers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It aims to support its membership through training, continued professional development, identification of employment opportunities, professional help and advice, and by providing a community to which the membership can belong and from which they draw benefit through open discussion and debate, as well as through gathering of information and advice. Through its members the ARA is committed to working for high standards in the provision of and care of archives and effective management of record systems including the retrieval of information from them. For more information visit: www.archives.org.uk.

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