Thursday, 30 June 2016
With building work due to take place in late August and September the former Libray and Archives service is being rebranded as Bromley Historic Collections.
It remains to be seen how displays will meet the needs of researchers. There are already users of the artefacts which are produced alongside Archive users using the borough's document sources and the former role of Education Officer in the Museum service has fallen back to School boxes of artefacts for handling and teaching within curriculum topics.
The uncertainty of achieving this combined service has impacted the service offered by the Archive team as no events have been offered in 2016 in order to address a relocation of the entire Local Studies floor of the library.
On the positive side two digital image scanners and touch screens are now available for microfilm users and a digital book scanner is available for archived material.
Three new computers are dedicated to family history use and the problematic general computer users are now accommodated elsewhere in the building. This has been a positive creation of a quiet study area;albeit this is often disturbed by noise levels from the General Enquiries from the floor beneath and the absence of any protection from such disturbance. The architecture of the 1960's has created a very poor environment fot quiet research and the addition of displays is likely to introduce some problems of disturbance around researchers.
At present there is a lack of power points to archive or museum collection users who wish to use persoanl computers which will hopefully be addressed by building works.
Meanwhile the exterior cladding of the entire museum and Theatre building has deteriorated in the last twelve months. The entrance to both buildings from Bromley High Street has had safety fencing to protect passers by from falling objects for nearly two years. In recent weeks large cracks have appeared on the uppermost floors along the High Street elevation and a cracked glazing unit in the Large Hall looks ominous. The whole buiding is starting to look neglected and underfunded by Bromley Council.
I have a personal interest in the Lubbock Collection and this will form part of the display on the second floor which has displaced material previously offered on the second floor Archives and Local studies area. I suspect that the display will be a small representation of the collection but will await the Autumn exhibition.
© Henry Mantell Downe Online Parish Clerk 2016