We would like to welcome Jess Johnston and Robin Sampson who are working on the Norfolk Archaeological Trust: Its Centenary and Beyond project. NAT is running this project in conjunction with the Norfolk Record Office, with support provided by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Each month over the course of the NAT100 project Robin will be bringing you highlights from the NAT archive held at Norfolk Record Office. Firstly here’s a little intro from Robin and Jess:
Robin – “I am Project Archivist for the NAT100 project. My main role is to oversee the cataloguing of the Norfolk Archaeological Trust’s archive, held at the Norfolk Record Office. This will open up the archive to a much wider audience, who will be able to learn more about the Trust’s history and objectives. I’m also leading on the development of an exhibition at the Record Office, which will tell the Trust’s story. As well as being an archivist, I’ve always had a keen interest in archaeology and local heritage, and this project allows me to indulge in all three of my passions!”
Jess “I am the Project Manager overseeing the NAT100 project. One of the key aspects of my role is planning and delivering an events programme to raise awareness of NAT, it’s sites and the important work NAT does to protect local heritage. I’m also recruiting and managing the project volunteers and will be working with NAT Staff and Volunteers to discuss and implement opportunities to improve NAT’s resilience for the future. As a child I was a member of the Young Archaeologists Club, so I’m really please to be working with Norwich Young Archaeologists Club to run a programme with their young people. They will learn about research, curation and exhibition display and will use these skills to will help develop the NAT exhibition to be displayed at the NRO. A real bonus of being involved in the project is that I’m able to visit the NAT sites I’ve never visited before and find out more about those I already been to.”
Robin’s Highlights from the Archive
[image: Great Hall/Flowerpot Yard, Oak Street, Norwich]
The Norfolk Record Office holds the NAT’s organisational archive, which currently comprises around fifty boxes of material, with more to be deposited. The records include information about each of the NAT’s current and former sites, and those that it expressed an interest in purchasing or managing.
The NAT archive has never been fully catalogued, so it hasn’t been looked at very much, even by the NAT’s own staff. As part of the centenary project team, my role is to survey the archive, find out what’s in there, and list it on the Norfolk Record Office’s catalogue, so that many more people can use it for research. So far, I have found beautiful site and property photographs, maps and plans, guidebooks, title deeds, letters a
nd all sorts of interesting material. My favourite find to date has been a set of keys to one of the NAT’s long-relinquished properties!
I will also supervise volunteers who will help me catalogue the archive and digitise certain records, such as council meeting minutes, which will be made available online. There will also be volunteering opportunities to undertake oral history interviews with key figures in the NAT’s history.
Furthermore, I will be curating an NAT exhibition, using items from the archive, the Norfolk Museums Service, and the NAT’s own object collection. This will be developed with help from members of the Norwich Young Archaeologists Club and will be displayed early next year at the Norfolk Record Office, where anyone can visit and see it.
We hope that the centenary project will help to raise public awareness and appreciation of the important work that the NAT undertakes at ten of the county’s most historically important sites. This project blog will be updated monthly so we can bring you updates and show you some of the things we’ve been working on.
[image: set of keys from Great Hall/Flowerpot Yard]
We are always looking for more help, so if you are interested in contributing your time to the project as a volunteer, please do get in touch! More info can be found on the NAT website volunteer page.
Robin Sampson, Project Archivist.