Thursday 18 October 2012

2012- Year of WI Archives

I have written previously that 2012 is the year of WI Archives. Many WI members, as well as Federation archivists (WI members too), willingly give their time to make sure the WI's history and the history of women in society is recorded, collated, kept, and stored in the proper fashion.

I was very proud to be able to tell this to the assembled company at the launch of the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives last Monday. In the River Room at the top of the House of Lords, against the backdrop of THAT green wallpaper, I told of how our own NFWI's national archive was rescued from the damp obscurity of the garage of Denman and found its home in the Women's Library - soon to be relocated to the London School of Economics. I also spoke of both WI and Federation archives being housed in local Records Offices, as well as in some Federation offices. The main message always has to be:  a) take a record b) keep that record c) know where that record is kept.

"Neglect of archives across the voluntary sector is endangering our ability to understand activities and agencies which impact on all our lives". This sentence from my letter of invitation to speak is the essence of the subject and must be remembered. The smallest action can grow. Keep those notes, those odd scribbles that may become a driving force, collate them and find a relevant home for them. One day they may form the basis of a research project or even a best-selling book - available in e-book edition!

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