Archives Go Virtual

Whatever else the coronavirus crisis brings about, it will surely have changed the way in which all those who use archives do their business.

HAT is keen to embrace this change and to learn from all quarters what people are doing and how.

If any proof were needed of how profound these changes are likely to be, it is only necessary to note that the Friends of Winchester Cathedral recently put on a talk by its archivist, and HAT Newsletter editor, David Rymill, courtesy of Zoom, the software that has taken the videoconferencing world by storm.

Other players are the Wessex Film and Sound Archive and Hampshire Archives and Local Studies, who hold a wealth of material about the county, its involvement in wartime and the peacetime celebrations.

On VE Day they put on Facebook and YouTube a live presentation by Zoe Viney (WFSA) and an exhibition by Heather Needham (HRO), with an accompanying blog. This is first event of this kind held by these professional archivists and can be viewed retrospectively.

The Army Flying Museum has also circumvented the coronavirus crisis by streaming talks formerly scheduled to be seen live as Lockdown Lectures, covering the topics shown in the table.

There are no doubt many local history groups doing similar things, like the podcast on VE Day recently posted by the Milford on Sea Historical Record Society (MOSHRS), and earlier ones on Admiral Cornwallis and stories about the local church.

HAT is keen to know about these kinds of events and would be grateful if you could send details of any you know about to the HAT website coordinator.

Only time will tell how important virtual events become in local studies and the like, or whether the instinct to socialise will dominate. However, whatever happens, going virtual surely will add to the range of methods of making, promoting and using Hampshire’s rich store of archives of all kinds.