Around 10 members of the Society spend each Tuesday morning at Downes getting to grips with the backlog of filing & cataloguing our collection.
The presence of the museum in the centre of town has led to a welcome increase in the number of donations we receive. Space has to be made for these at Downes and volunteers have to combine the work of processing these donations with staffing the exhibitions at the museum.
Two other important developments have occurred during the last year. We already have a substantial collection of photographs and postcards, many of which have been digitally scanned. The complexity of computer systems and our limited knowledge in dealing with these resulted in the collection having become extremely muddled. A new recruit, Peter Budd, has made available to us his considerable I.T. and photographic skills and spent hundreds of hours going through the collection and sorting them out. Over the winter we hope to complete cataloguing these so that researchers can easily see what we have in the collection and order very good quality reproductions of those not subject to copyright.
Our limited I.T. skills have also meant that we had been unable to place our collection on the approved museums programme, which again facilitates identifying what is in the collection and keeping track of the items. Again, we are fortunate to have the expertise of several new members, not least Jon Kelsey, in learning how to make best use of the computer programme involved. It will be some time before that task is completed but meantime, we are gradually building up the database. Thanks to a lot of work by another new recruit, our website designer, Sarah Green, brief details of many of the documents in our collection can already be seen on our website.