Monday, 29 November 2010
A sneaky peek at the new 'Start here' desk
This will only be exclusive for a few hours after posting, but here it is anyway. This is what visitors to The National Archives will see when we open tomorrow, Tuesday 30 November. Regular visitors and followers of the website will know that there have been some changes over the last few weeks, and they will continue for the rest of the year. Every Saturday when we close at 5pm the contractors come in to install/move/paint things, and this continues on Sunday and Monday, while we are closed to the public. Every Monday the staff go and look at the search room to see what has changed, so that it doesn't come as a total surprise when we report for duty first thing on Tuesday (those who have Mondays off just have to get their orientation done really quickly first thing, and home the day starts gently while they get their bearings!).
Although the changes to the main reading rooms are going on while we are providing a normal service, the Map and Large Document Reading Room is closed until Tuesday 14 December. It is having a much-needed major refit that can't be done while remaining open, but it should be well worth the wait. Details are on The National Archives website
All the changes have involved quite a lot of work for staff, especially those who work in the Map Room (fortunately for me, I'm not one of them). But it's a good opportunity to have a good clear-out, much like moving house. That's when you discover all kinds of unexpected things; I was checking the contents of some microfiche drawers when I discovered a roll of microfilm that didn't belong there. Not only was it a film in a fiche drawer, it wasn't even one of ours! It was an LDS film, which, you'll be glad to know, is being returned to its rightful owners.