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!).

The Start Here area is the closest to completion so far, with a soft seating area and some magazines.Some of the new signage is in place, and the new layout is starting to take shape. Because the work is being done a little at a time over the weekends, some things can't be moved to their final positions yet, so they are temporarily a little out of place; the cabinet containing the printed Research Guides is currently stranded on the wrong side of a glass panel, causing staff at the Research Enquiries desk to dodge round a pillar to fetch copies to give to readers. Fortunately this won't be for much longer. The new enquiry desks have been built, although they are not ready to use yet.
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.

1 comment:

  1. Are you destined to become the "TNA Insider" ?

    Thanks for this informative posting!