Recently two community groups from Slough visited us in Special Collections. They were here specifically to find out more about preserving their heritage and culture for future generations of their families, as well as researchers. For many members of the groups it was their first visit to a university library or art gallery.
We started off by looking at the variety of collections housed here at Brunel. This includes the more obvious book and manuscript material, but also posters and other ephemera from the Transport History Collection, as well as the occasional piece of furniture, and even a costume worn by Ram Gopal from the SALIDAA collection.
Once we’d looked at the variety of items in the collections, we discussed how best to care for them so that future generations will be able to see them too. This included talking about how paper is made and how this affects how well it has survived, how to handle books and manuscripts to avoid causing more damage to them and safe ways of packaging items to keep deterioration to a minimum.
We also talked about how the items are used in research, why people might want to use them and what to do to arrange a visit to a special collections library or archive.
Finally, both visits ended with a trip to the Beldam Gallery, part of Brunel University, where the participants enjoyed an introduction to the current exhibition, Suspense, from the University Curator, George Mogg, followed by a well-earned cup of tea in the Eastern Gateway building.