Gathered over a period of over 30 years, our archive has grown to become a huge store of digital and physical documents, photos and other memorabilia. This includes of thousands of hours of collected memories from past and present residents of Milton Keynes and the towns and villages that occupied the area of north Buckinghamshire that became the new city. These collections cover a wide variety of topics, from public life and community events to personal experiences of ordinary people who grew up, lived and worked here. These have been used both locally and nationally in exhibitions, songs, plays, books, web blogs, videos and radio and television programmes.
The process of collection must continue as future generations will be just as fascinated or perhaps nostalgic about our current times as we are about, say, the Second World War or the 1960s. Each new project undertaken brings with it a wealth of new items to be looked after.
The archive could not function without the volunteers who come in regularly to sort, transcribe, scan and catalogue items and collections donated to Living Archive. They also write stories for our blogs and participate in research for exhibitions or to answer the range of enquiries we regularly receive about people, places and past events in Milton Keynes.
Here’s an example from Nigel Hicks, who’s currently cataloguing a collection:
“Caz Tricks has been a key figure in the arts scene in Milton Keynes since the 1980s. She donated her personal collection (mainly posters and newspaper cuttings) early in 2017.
These 200-odd items have all been scanned and put into four groups:
– Blues Collective
(yes, it’s music too but, due to the amount of material, merits its own section)
Right now we are about halfway through loading the items into the Living Archive Catalogue (some loaded one at a time, and others loaded as a batch) and the process should be completed by the end of October for this collection. These items give enlightening snapshots of the live music and theatrical scene in MK, focusing on the local bands, the local theatre groups, and the local venues.”
This cataloguing process is very important as we work towards making more of the archive available on the web. But collection of digitised material (which grows bigger each week as more scanning and transcribing jobs are completed) is enormous and it does take time so we’re now working on ways to increase the number of volunteers engaged in this key activity. You can see the finished work catalogued work here: http://www.livingarchive.org.uk/content/catalogue_item/caz-tricks-collection
If you think you can help, please get in touch?