We're very excited to share the news that construction work on our new archive store and reading room commences this week. As a result we now expect to move the archive collections in January 2024 and reopen as early as we can in 2024. This means our original homepage timeline needs updating, something we thought we'd flag up here on the blog along with a quick explanation as to why this shift has occurred.
While the Archive Service team has been busy packing up our collections the wider project team has been doing all the necessary preparatory work to make the move possible, including appointing a contractor to undertake the construction of our two new spaces and a racking supplier to install our specialist archival storage. Having completed their important assessment of the new strongroom location and after liaising with both the Archive Service team and the National Archives, the contractor has recommended that the current space be damp proofed, an additional process which affects the timing of the move. As you can imagine we've always been keen to reopen as soon as possible, but preserving our archives safely for future generations is our absolute priority and this recommendation comes from the contractor's understanding of the value of our collections and the importance and scale of the work being embarked upon. For the time being this extension will not affect our remote enquiry service, which we'll continue to offer for as long as is practical to do so, but we'll update our current status and the blog whenever this is about to change.
2022 Reading Room is open for bookings
2022 Some access restrictions apply
2023 Construction begins at PMAG
2024 Disruption likely as the archive moves
2024 The relocated Reading Room opens
This longer period of restricted access also gives us an amazing opportunity to expand our previous strongroom survey work into a once-in-a-lifetime "stock take" - the first full reappraisal since the archives opened in 1998 and, for our local studies and pottery libraries, since the City Central Library opened in 1970. This will involve addressing preservation needs, sorting and preparing uncatalogued collections, catching up with backlogs in both our library and archive collections, finding more appropriate homes for objects and publications with no relevance to the City and North Staffordshire, and better familiarising ourselves with our many collections.
In short, we'll be making the most of the extra time we've been given, and as a result there'll be more collections added to our online catalogue and, after the move, more collections ready for researchers to consult in our re-opened reading room!
Posted on 30th June, 2023