The Special Collections team at the University of Reading and the Museum of English Rural Life (the MERL) has been working with the society to care for, and to open, our archive to the public and to potential researchers. The completed cataloguing work, and the collected oral histories of key staff members, will reveal our present and historic work, creating deeper engagement with our important records, and connecting us with new and wider audiences. This project has also created a fellowship for an academic to work directly with our archive.
Our relationship with the MERL dates to the 1980s, and its stores hold our records from the 1800s to the 2000s. They include administrative records, legal papers, publications, photographic records plus others. You can find the archive catalogue by clicking here and more helpful information on their A-Z pages of collections about the Open Spaces Society here.
This project will culminate in an online exhibition, which we shall announce, and there will be blog posts detailing highlights of the archive, and provide further information focused on what we do as an organisation.
We are also working on our own image library website, details of which we look forward to sharing in the near future.