Resources for reopening Archives

The ‘Re-opening The National Archives’ webinar, which was streamed live last week, is now online:

This webinar provides information for colleagues in the archive sector on The National Archives’ own approach to re-opening.

Each archive service needs to be guided by their own circumstances in relation to re-opening; in order to help with this, please do have a look at our webpages on ‘Making Plans for Re-opening’ for high level principles, information on re-opening in relation to being a place of deposit and/or an accredited archive service, and resources including a planning for re-opening checklist and risk management template.

CAS Council updated

At a recent Council meeting Jonathan Bush was elected as new Chair of the Catholic Archives Society. He thanked his predecessor, Judith Smeaton, for all her efforts and hard work.

As several Council members’ terms had ended, three new members were co-opted. They are Claire Marsland, Naomi Johnson and Jenny Smith.

The full Council list is now as follows:


Chair: Johnathan Bush

Vice Chair: currently vacant

Treasurer: Jim Hughes

Secretary: Karen O’Connor

Council members

Annaig Boyer

Judith Smeaton

Lawrence Gregory

Claire Marsland (co-opted)

Naomi Johnson (co-opted)

Jenny Smith (co-opted)

Working from home

Recently on the Archives NRA jiscmail list the following list of online learning source and ideas for those working from home was shared. This might be of interest.

Free Courses:
•    Connecting to Collections Care has their webinars archived and available online – a lot of great information for a variety of institutions and collections, archives included. Free.

•    the Image Permanence Institute have some interesting archived webinars on photographic process identification, preservation and access etc that I’ve always fancied and never managed to make time for.

•    The National Archives run e-learning courses on fundraising for archives, including the following: Fundraising Strategy; Financial Planning; Case for Support; Building Networks and Supporters; Crowdfunding; Measuring Outcomes and Evaluation

•    The National Archives Latin tutorial:

•    The National Archives palaeography tutorial:

•    Future Learn have a wide range of free online courses: Some more archive specific ones detailed below:

o    Cultural Heritage and the City, Discover how cities develop their own unique cultures and explore key concepts related to cultural heritage.

o    Learning from the Past: A Guide for the Curious Researcher, Learn how to understand the past to explain the present, and get to know the amazing sources and resources of the British Library.

o    The History of the Book in the Early Modern Period: 1450 to 1800, Explore the history of the book during the early modern period and learn how the invention of printing revolutionized our world.

o    Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum: Get an introduction to museum studies with this free online course. Learn about the people and ideas that shape museums today

o    Understanding Diversity and Inclusion: Develop your attitudes, skills and knowledge of cultural diversity so you’re able to create inclusive environments

o    Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present – Join 50 leading scholars in exploring antisemitism, from its roots to its contemporary forms.

o    If you’ve never done any family history try – Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree: Develop an understanding of genealogy – how to research your family tree and share the results – with this free online course.

o    For a different approach to palaeography – Early Modern Scottish Palaeography: Reading Scotland’s Records. Travel back in time through Scottish history by examining early modern Scottish handwriting.

•    The Open University also have a range of online courses: Open University online courses . Some more archive specific ones:

o    What is heritage? This free course will introduce you to the concept of heritage and its critical study, exploring the role of heritage in both past and contemporary societies.

o    This free course, looking at, describing and identifying objects, will enable you to practise and develop your skills of observation and description of objects. It will also enable you to interpret objects and work towards writing your own object life cycle. You will also work with, and understand artefact databases.

o    Besides being simple mementos, family photographs can offer insights into the past. This free course, Picturing the family, looks at some of the ways photographs can reveal, and sometimes conceal, important information about the past. It teaches the skills and provides some of the knowledge needed to interpret such pictorial sources.

•    EdX have a wide range of free online courses, with some great ones on history here: Some specific ones people have mentioned listed below

o    From a digital preservation angle, there are free online edX courses on computer science and programming, such as 

o    Also with digital, edX are running a course on Creating a Digital Cultural Community

•    Coursera also have a wide range of free online courses: – a couple mentioned by people listed below:

o    I found this a pretty good place to start for research data management:

o    Range of history ones here:

•    For those interested in learning about Google Analytics – beginners and advanced courses are available online for free through the Analytics Academy.

•    The Carpentries: free online curricula for research data (Data Carpentry), research computing (Software Carpentry), and data/software skills for library work (Library Carpentry)

•    Codecademy: learn to code for free

•    Connecting to Collections: free webinars on collections care

•    DHPSNY: free recorded webinars on collections care (geared towards NY State, but free to all)

•    Digital A11y: Digital Accessibility Courses Roundup: A list of digital accessibility courses, many of which are free

•    Digital Skills for the Workplace: 15 free courses to enhance your workplace skills

•    DiRT Directory (Digital Research Tools Directory): list of digital humanities tools organized by category. Very useful starting point!

•    Free Code Camp: learn to code for free

•    Khan Academy: learn to code (and many other things) for free

•    Map Warper: a georectifier for juxtaposing historic maps onto Google Earth, etc.

•    NEDCC – on-demand webinars on collections care topics, digital preservation, grants & fundraising (follow link and scroll down for the free ones)

•    The Programming Historian: “novice-friendly, peer-reviewed tutorials that help humanists learn a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and workflows to facilitate research and teaching” (+1 vote)

Paid Courses (or Subscription Required)

•    Museums Association Ethics course
Enrol in a free learning course on industry standard practice

•    Museums Association Collections course
Enrol in a free learning course on caring for and managing collections

•    the Australian Society of Archivists has a range of online courses – They are, of course, cheaper if you’re an ASA member, but anyone can do them, and hopefully some work places might support (e.g. fund) online PD during this unusual times.

Reading Resources

•    The National Archives has plenty of resources online relating to the Archive Sector:

•    National Archives resources on Managing Your Collection

•    National Archives resources on Fundraising for Archives:

•    National Archives resources on Case Studies and Reports

•    Ashmolean Museum Case Studies and Project Videos

•    University of Nottingham collections info (especially good for deeds):

•    Archives Association of British Colombia, archivists’ toolkit:

•    Archive Skills, “info bytes” (short summaries of archival topics):

•    Digital Preservation Handbook:

•    Jisc guide to records management:

Fun Stuff

•    Museum online virtual tours


Tasks for Home Working

•    Clear up email inbox (sort/delete/reply to old emails)
•    Work on your PDR, review your goals/training needs
•    Familiarise yourself with other archives using their websites
•    Schedule a remote lunch or coffee talk with colleagues via phone or video to talk about things besides work
•    Webinars and other professional development
•    Write/edit presentations for future CPD talks
•    Think about the job you’d want X years from now. Schedule time each week to work towards that job
•    Identify areas for partnership working with other organisations
•    Update key documentation/policies etc

Archives volunteers sought

The Methodist Church is looking for two Archives Volunteers to help with the preparation of the Methodist Missionary Society collections before their transfer to a permanent repository.
Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Physical preparation: removing clips and staples, repackaging documents, organising records within the boxes
  • Weeding: looking for duplicates, removing material according to agreed rules
  • Listing: creating box lists for different categories of records
    Personal qualities required:
  • Interest in history or archives
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer literacy; data inputting
  • Understanding of Data Protection rules
  • Ability to lift boxes and volumes
    Work will be supervised and supported by the two Project Archivists.
    We ask that volunteers commit to one day a week (5 to 6 hours of work, preferably not Wednesdays). The position would suit someone in the London area as it will be based at The Methodist Church House (25 Marylebone Rd, London, NW1 5JR). Transport expenses will be reimbursed.

If you are interested in volunteering in this role, please send a brief statement to explaining why you would like to be involved in the project along with the days you would be able to come in.

Job ad: Archivist and Records Project Manager

Based in Notting Hill, London.

A committed archivist is required on a part-time basis by mutual agreement to be the Project Archivist for the Sisters of our Lady of Sion, an international congregation of Roman Catholic women religious with headquarters located in Central London.

You will possess a recognized qualification in archive administration or equivalent.

You will be expected to demonstrate a high degree of self-motivation and initiative working in a small private general archive. You must have good communication and interpersonal skills for teamwork and a strong experienced base knowledge of IT. 

A basic knowledge of French is required.

You will be producing an inventory of the Records held by the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.

Hours Part-Time 16 hrs weekly. Salary as ARA directives

Job Description

A knowledge of French is required

To assist in the assembling, cataloguing, preserving and managing the collection of historical information of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion in the UK. To produce a IT inventory of each boxed record as arranged in the Archive Office. This post could be suitable for a new graduate or an experienced person.

To create a Library of  books and artefacts.

This person will be in an assisting position and will liaise with the local and Congregational archivist at all times.

All enquiries to Sr Tessa Hughes nds.

Our Lady of Sion

49 St Peter’s Road


Birmingham B17 0AU


RAG Conference 2019

Religious Archives Group CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

Monday 13th May 2019

Salvation Army International Heritage Centre, William Booth College, London

Religion and Architecture

10:00                     Coffee

Ruth MacDonald              Introduction and welcome to the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre

10.15-11.00         Steven Spencer: Salvation Army architecture

11.00-11.45         Dr Robert Whan: Church and Civic Architecture within the Diocese of Armagh

11.45-12.00         Tea break

12.00-12.45         Peter Howell: Catholic religious architecture

12.45-13.30         Lunch

13.30-13.45         Religious Archives Group AGM

13.45-14.00         Dr Sharman Kadish: Jewish religious architecture

14.00-14.45         Dr John Maiden: Using the Church Commissioners archives and the British Council of Churches archives to investigate the use of church properties

14.45-15.30         Shahed Saleem: The British Mosque

15.30-16.00         Tour of the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre

16:00                     Close

Conference details will be posted on their website shortly with a booking form at: In the meantime, booking forms (to be returned by 3rd May) can also be obtained from (Mondays and Tuesdays) or Norman James at

Patrimony Committee Conference 2019

This year’s Historic Churches Committees’ Conference will be held on Thursday 23rd May at Cornerstone, opposite St David’s Cathedral. Registration and refreshments will be from 10.00am and the Conference will start at 10.30am prompt.

Mass will be said at the Cathedral at 9.30am for anyone wishing to join us. If there are any priests who wish to concelebrate please let us know.

Cornerstone is the converted former nonconformist chapel directly opposite Cardiff Catholic Cathedral which is now a highly successful meeting place, function venue and café. After closure as a chapel the building fell into dereliction and was subsequently put up for sale. It was acquired by the Archdiocese of Cardiff and under the leadership of the Most Rev. George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff and Chairman of the Patrimony Committee, and with a substantial grant from the HLF it has been transformed into the vibrant community facility we see today.

Archbishop George will open the Conference and further information about the former chapel and its conversion will be available on the day. Sophie Andreae, Vice Chair of the Patrimony Committee, will update delegates on a number of recent developments including the issuing of the new guidance from the Vatican on the closure of churches no longer needed for worship and on changes to grant funding following the closure of HLF’s targeted Grants for Places of Worship Programme and the launch, earlier this year, of the (now renamed) National Lottery Heritage Fund’s new Strategic Framework This is the first time that our Historic Churches Committees’ Conference has been held in Wales. It is particularly timely as work is nearing completion on the Taking Stock Project in Wales and Herefordshire. With Taking Stock in England nearly complete (see ) the completion of the project in Wales is a major achievement and Andrew Derrick of the Architectural History Practice will outline the emerging findings. As has been the case in England, there will be churches currently unlisted which merit listing and some listed churches which deserve upgrading. For the first time, there will be a comprehensive assessment of the historical and architectural significance of Catholic churches in England and Wales. With Taking Stock in England and Wales nearing completion, there remains the question of church contents and the need for inventories. A number of dioceses have undertaken inventories and more want to do so. As well as understanding the importance of church buildings, an understanding of the importance of historic contents is equally crucial. James Crowley, architectural historian and Secretary of the Wales and Herefordshire Historic Churches Committee will outline how the issue of inventories can be approached and the risk of not having adequate records.

Support of our national Catholic Historic Churches Website continues to grow as more Historic Churches Committees see the benefits of going digital and use the website. Fergus Brotherton will give us an update and before lunch there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion on this and any other topics of concern. Following lunch, we are delighted that Christopher Catling, Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, is going to give us an introduction to Cardiff Castle and to the Catholic 3rd Marquess of Bute and his remarkable architect, William Burgess, with whom he collaborated so closely in the creation of the astonishing interiors. John Patrick Crichton-Stuart inherited the title in 1848 at the age of six months. He was reputed to have been the richest man in the world at the time. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 21 and spent much of his fortune on buildings. Cardiff Castle, founded as a Roman fort in the 3rd Century and transformed by the Normans into a motte and bailey castle at the Conquest, was later transformed by the Marquess of Bute and William Burgess into a vast Gothic Revival dream palace. We will be taken on a private tour and shown rooms, including the tiny Chapel, which are not normally open to the public. Tours will be finished by 4pm and you are then welcome to visit the rest of the Castle e.g. the Norman Keep, the Wartime Shelters and the Museum of the Welsh Soldier.

We have arranged a three-course dinner the evening before the Conference in Cornerstone. Please tick the box on the booking form if you would like to join us for dinner and we will contact you with the menu options. There will be a charge of £28 for the food, including service charge. Please add this to the fee for the Conference if you wish to join us. Drinks to be purchased separately on the night. We greatly look forward to seeing you in Cardiff in May.

The fee is £50 as in previous years, to include lunch and refreshments and the tour of Cardiff Castle.

Please return booking forms and cheques to Josephine Warren by Wednesday 8th May. If you wish to join the tours of the Castle please let us know asap by ticking the box on the Booking Form. We need to advise the Castle of numbers as each tour is limited to a maximum of 20 people per tour and we want to ensure can accommodate everyone who would like to come. There is a wide range of hotel accommodation available in Cardiff and if you opt for one in the city centre, all are within walking distance. There is no parking at Cornerstone but there are a number of multi-storey car parks in the area.