Heritage Quay receives Accredited Archive Service distinction

Heritage Quay Team

Thu, 09 Jun 2016 15:03:00 BST

“…the distinction is awarded by the National Archives and only two per cent of archives in the country have achieved it…”

LEADING figures from the National Archives, based at Kew, came to the University of Huddersfield to bestow one of the most sought-after awards in the sector.

The University is the home of Heritage Quay, a £1.6 million, technologically-advanced archives centre that is highly accessible to the general public and specialist researchers alike.  Now, it has officially been declared an Accredited Archive Service.

This is a distinction awarded by a panel including the National Archives and the Archives and Records Association.  The certificate states that the aim is to “ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage”.  Accreditation is a UK quality standard “which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery”.

It was announced earlier this year that Heritage Quay – after an exhaustive application and validation process – had been granted Accredited Archive Service status.  The award has now formally been made at a ceremony attended by Caroline Ottaway-Searle, who is Director of Public Engagement at the National Archives, and Melinda Haunton, their Programme Manager for Accreditation.

Sarah Wickham and Caroline Ottaway-SearleHeritage Quay’s Sarah Wickham (right) receiving the accreditation certificate from Caroline Ottaway-Searle

‌Members of the Heritage Quay team was present to receive the award, alongside University of Huddersfield Archivist and Records Manager Sarah Wickham, Director of Computing and Library Services Sue White and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Thornton.

The nine-strong team at Heritage Quay worked on the substantial submission that was required to apply for accreditation.  It appraised factors such as repository standards, the range of public services offered, the policies and procedures in place for managing and cataloguing collections, and the outreach activities taking place amongst a wide range of audiences.

After the document was completed, Accreditation Assessors from across the archives sector visited Heritage Quay to validate the submission.

Out of some 2000 archives in the UK, Accredited status has so far been awarded to 45.  The University of Huddersfield joins a list that includes the National Archives themselves, plus London Metropolitan Archives, Lancashire Archives, the National Records of Scotland, the Churchill Archives Centre and the National Library of Wales.

Heritage Quay barcode When it announced that Heritage Quay had joined the list, the Accreditation Panel cited “the recent years of hugely impressive development to this archive service, and the overall uplifting and positive impression of the service in this application”. 

It added that “outputs of recent years included a very sound policy basis for the service to develop in future, in addition to the significant achievements supported by a major grant award”.

Archivist and Records Manager Sarah Wickham has said that accreditation “has been a considerable achievement by all of the staff working in Heritage Quay”

“It recognises the high-quality work we do,” she added.  “We are a relatively new team, so to achieve this endorsement in such a short space of time is absolutely fantastic.”

  • Heritage Quay was opened in 2014 by Gary Verity, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Yorkshire and the Humber, after the University was awarded almost £1.6 million from the HLF to develop a new archives centre.  It is now regarded one of the most technologically-advanced archives in the UK, featuring a high-tech Exploration Space that enables visitors to sample archival material via touch screens and gesture technology.  It mounts regular exhibitions and special events that have included lectures, concerts and theatrical performances plus public sessions such as a popular course on the history of brass bands in the Pennines.  Heritage Quay has won many awards for its work including a Guardian Higher Education “Inspiring Building” award, and a special commendation in the Royal Historical Society’s inaugural Public History Prize

 

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