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The National Library of Wales is celebrating Explore Your Archive week


Welsh archives are home to a wealth of treasure – are you ready to explore?

The National Library of Wales is getting ready to celebrate and showcase their services and collections for Explore Your Archive week, which this year runs between 17 and 25 November.

On the 20th of November 2018 The National Library of Wales will hold a full day of talks which will focus on the five items which have been added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register.  As part of our activities John Reed, a former member of the Screen and Sound Archive at NLW, will relate the fascinating story of the discovery and restoration of the film of the Life Story of David Lloyd George and Iwan Bryn James, Head of the Conservation Section at the NLW, will talk about the conservation of items in the collection to enable their continued use.

The week long Explore Your Archive campaign encourages people to discover the stories, facts, places and the people that are at the heart of Welsh communities, with many archives holding special activities and inviting the public to experience, understand and take pride in the wealth and variety of material they hold.

Endurance athlete, adventurer and broadcaster Lowri Morgan is the 2018 ambassador for Explore Your Archives in Wales. Launching the festival at Gwynedd Archive Service in Caernarfon, she said:

“I am fascinated by history, and the ability to walk into an archive and have so much at your fingertips ready to explore is a privilege. I have already tried my hand at conserving historic documents with other volunteers, identifying and cataloguing recent donations and even exploring the history of my own house!

“I would recommend a visit to your local archive to anybody, even if you’ve no idea where to start staff are on hand to help and give advice – anyone can and should take advantage of our brilliant archive service in Wales.”

As part of Explore Your Archive, a variety of free events will be on offer at archives across Wales - from talks and film showings to children’s storytelling sessions and creative workshops.

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas, said:

“Archives play an integral part in shaping our communities and helping us to develop a rich sense of place and identity. They are unique, holding original records of local people, families, businesses and organisations, often in their own words. I hope to see this campaign introduce new people to the breadth of what’s available in these fascinating places, and would encourage anyone to visit, explore and engage with their local archive service.”

Welsh archives hold a vast range of material, but some of the most unusual items in the collections include an annotated book of real cats’ whiskers (with each whisker’s feline owner identified); a book of exorcism from 1698 that includes advice about how to cast out demons from storms; and a book from 1822 that’s just 3cm tall.

Kevin Plant, Chair of Archives and Records Council Wales, said:

“The aim of Explore Your Archive is to inspire people to learn more about some of the amazing heritage stories on their doorstep through a variety of different experiences - I’d urge you to check out what’s on at your local area and get exploring!”

To start exploring please visit your local archive service or

Editor’s Notes
For further information, interviews and images please contact: or call 01970 636400

  1. The Explore Your Archive campaign has been developed by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) and is supported in Wales by Museums, Archives, and Libraries Division, Welsh Government.
  2. The archive sector in Wales comprises:
  • 13 local authority archive services (record offices) including 3 joint services, with 15 service points
  • 5 higher education archive services
  • 3 national institution archive services (The National Library of Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW))

These organisations work together through the strategic partnership body Archives and Records Council Wales (ARCW) to deliver all-Wales developmental projects.