So you think you know archives?

Rows of books, files, hushed tones, old pictures and white gloves- these are all the images conjured up when we think of archives. But, there's so much more to archives than this...

© Exeter Library - Challenge your idea of archives with some truly fascinating events...

...records of our past are held in all manner of places, theatres, local history centres, film companies, hospitals, and corporations all hold secrets about our heritage behind their closed doors. With some really fantastic events sharing archival material, it has never been easier to explore beyond the strong room door. From rummaging through theatre costumes and props, to the history of some of the biggest English companies and exploring your own family tree there’s much to see and do this September.   

We’ve created an interactive map for you to explore just a few of the most intriguing, unusual and exciting events involving archival materials! And you’ll find many more in the event directory if you just search for 'archives'. 

© (1) Cumbria Archive & Local Studies Centre (2) Bristol University Theatre Collection -

​1. The Cumbria Archive & Local Studies Centre will help you unlock secrets of your local heritage

2. The history of theatre can be learnt through uncovering the Bristol University Theatre Collection

© (3) BFI Archive (4) Devon Heritage Centre -

3. The BFI National Film Archive provides an interesting opportunity to get behind the scenes of film archives

4. Artefacts, letters, books and more are all available for your perusal at the Devon Heritage Centre

© (5) T.G Green & Co. (6) Historic England Archive -

5. T.G Green & Co. Archive opens its usually closed doors to share a unique chance to explore British ceramics

6. The Historic England Archive brings together history, heritage and remarkable stories for you to enjoy

© (7) Centre for Heritage and Family History (8) Sheffield Hospitals Archive -

7. Trace your family tree and ancestral history through the archives at the Centre for Heritage and Family History

8. Hopsital heritage sounds...unusual? Northern General Hospital Archive opens to help uncover what this means

© (9) BT Archive (10) M&S Co. Archive -

9. BT is certainly something of a British instiution, so who could miss an opporunity to explore their archive? 

10. The M&S Company Archive throws open its doors to explore over 130 years of retail history

Find out more…