British Deaf History Society – Archive collection assessment, report and recommendations

The volunteer-run British Deaf History Society (BDHS) came to us for a range of expertise as part of an Archives Revealed Scoping Grant funded by the National Archives and the Pilgrim Trust.

Recognised as the preferred place to send materials and collections around the Deaf experience in the UK, the organisation held unique collections relating to people, places, institutions and groups connected to the Deaf community.

These collections had never been fully catalogued and were inaccessible, meaning most had never been fully studied or made available for research. BDHS were keen to change this and preserve their heritage.

With the assistance of a sign language interpreter, Janice visited the organisation to learn more about their work, explore their collections and see how the archives, objects and photographs were currently being managed and cared for.

Over several visits, she carried out an assessment using a common methodology that can be applied to any type of archive collection. From this, she produced a report detailing the current situation and future recommendations, taking in collections management, cataloguing, storage and access.

As a result, BDHS had a firm basis to support their future funding bids, ensuring the collection can be preserved and made available for future generations. Following the report’s completion, a part-time archivist has been appointed to implement its recommendations, with the project plan meaning they can hit the ground running!

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