PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
24th and 25th February 2018
The History of Ramsden Exhibition has been Isabel Johnson’s project for almost 30 years, but in 2017 she announced her retirement.
On learning of this, a few of us got together to form an archive team whose mission was to continue the annual exhibition, and take it into the digital age. Her collection of documents, pictures and memorabilia has been built up over all that time, and we felt we could not allow it to just suddenly disappear.
The archive team consists of Steve Tuff and Barbara Stanton, who look after the Village Hall website, Clive Jeffree, the Village Hall Chairman, and Dick Wellbourne, Village Hall Publicity Officer and Chairman of the Parish Council.
We have been successful in securing funding from the Parish Council, the Village Hall and the Essex Heritage Trust, which has allowed us to purchase equipment and materials to aid us in taking the exhibition into the future.
Isabel kindly consented to us copying her personal collection, which is now being catalogued with a view to building a searchable database, which will find all available documents based on whatever interest the user has. We are about half way through this exercise, and should, all being well, have it up and running at the 2019 event.
Isabel’s fellow exhibitor, Frank Fisher has also allowed us to keep his collection of maps and books, for which we are very grateful. This will mean that we are able to exhibit as much of the usual content as possible.
Our wish was that the transition should be seamless, in that all available material will still be accessible in the way it has always been, allowing the visitor to delve into the archive, as is the tradition.
This year we embarked on our first staging of the exhibition, which took place on Saturday 24th, and Sunday 25th February in the village hall, and Isabel and Frank were there as advisers, as well as relating their stories to many of the visitors.
The exhibition took its usual form, with documents, maps and pictures of events going back over 100 years. We had a steady stream of visitors, all enjoying the atmosphere of being able to sit and browse through all these memories, as well as the new technology, which enabled us to recall documents digitally so that visitors could take copies away with them.
As usual, there were refreshments with a selection of homemade cakes, with the chance to sit and reminisce.
The proceeds of the event were in aid of village hall funds, and totalled just over £300.
The work continues to get all the information in digital form, including the original paper copies. Hopefully, at next year’s exhibition we will be able to demonstrate more of this.
To help the collection grow, if you have any item of historical interest which you would like to donate, we would love to hear from you. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also hope to develop the historical archive section on the village hall website – further details to follow.
Please do come along and support us in the future – we would be very pleased to see you.