Sunday, 20th September was a great day for the Lacock Unlocked project. After three years, we were able to hold a celebration event which showcased all the fantastic work we’ve done over the years and paved the way for sustaining the work ahead.
We held the event in the Manger Barn in Lacock. The doors opened at 1pm and the barn was open to everyone: past and present volunteers, members of the community, and members of the public who looked in during their wanders round the village.
On display to visitors were the newly created pop-up exhibition, which looked at the development of Lacock’s history, interesting people and places, and some outreach work that had been done as part of the project. The exhibition covered the three main themes that the project sought to cover from the beginning: how history is recorded; Lacock, a sense of place; and Lacock and the outside world. We are seeking to put the exhibition up in various places in the next few months throughout the county. We also showed an exhibition of photographs taken by the North Wilts Community Club following their visit to see some of the archives and the subsequent inspired photographs. It was great to see some of the members at the event. The photographs ranged from pictures of plants and leaves, to images of Lacock Abbey and specific objects that interested the members.
Also on show at the event was a series of videos created by our Transforming Archives trainee, Matthew Goodwin, who sadly left Wiltshire Council the previous week to do his archives course in Liverpool so couldn’t be present at the event. The videos were slideshows of photographs of community members from across the decades, accompanying some of the oral history recordings that Matthew and his volunteers took in the past year. These proved very popular with members of the community and with visitors to Lacock; it was lovely to hear some of the stories from peoples’ childhoods and about what life used to be like in Lacock.
We also had a selection of photographs taken by Wiltshire People First, a group who also did some workshops on photography and produced some lovely photographs using their new skills with digital SLR cameras.
Accompanying the exhibitions and presentation were a printout of the new archive catalogue, showing the series and titles of the records that have been catalogued, an example of the Lacock Unlocked website which visitors could browse, desktop versions of the “app” which can now be downloaded onto Google Play and the App Store, and a timeline of the project showing what has been achieved since the start of it.
At 2pm Terry Bracher, Archives and Local Studies Manager, gave a brief talk on what we have done as part of the project, and thanked staff, volunteers and community groups for their effort and enthusiasm for the project. We couldn’t have done it without the input of the Lacock and wider communities, and the support we’ve had from the start has been brilliant.
The project is ongoing: the community archive will continue to expand and flourish, we should be getting lots more articles on our website, and hopefully more community groups as well as individuals will be eager to work with the Lacock collection.
Although it felt like the end of an era seeing the round-up of everything we’ve done in the Lacock project, the day also reminded us that it isn’t really the end, because the people involved with it don’t want it to be. We hope that we will continue to work with the community and volunteers, as part of the Lacock project and also with other collections. It was a joy to see so many eager supporters of the celebration event, and really made us feel that everything had come together.
Ally McConnell, Archivist