The festive season always brings it end-of-year polls and ‘best of’ lists. We’re partial to a good list @unistirarchives so we have reviewed our user statistics recording visits to our archives reading room and enquiries received about our collections to come up with our annual rundown of our most popular collections.
In 2018 our most used and enquired about collection is the NHS Forth Valley Archive. Since the original transfer of material in 2012 it has consistently been one of our most popular collections (also topping our end-of-year chart in 2013, 2014 and 2015). The collection includes historical patient records that are of great interest to family historians. Alongside the regular genealogical enquiries we receive 2018 also brought a marked increase in the use of the collection by students at Stirling for dissertations and project work. This year also marked the 70th anniversary of the NHS and the 21st anniversary of Nursing at Stirling, both events generating further interest in our medical collections.
The University of Stirling celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017 and the interest generated in the history of the institution continued into 2018 with the university’s own archives taking second place on our list. Another anniversary of note occurred in 2018 with the university celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Film & Media Studies as a subject at Stirling. With this anniversary in mind its fitting that the final entry in our top three of 2018 is our film archive collections which include the personal and working papers of John Grierson, Norman McLaren and Lindsay Anderson. 2018 also marked the 50th anniversary of the release of If…., Lindsay Anderson’s iconic tale of rebellion at an English public school. The anniversary generated much research interest in the film and we were also invited to contribute to a number of events, screenings and exhibitions relating to the film during the year.
Other Archives & Special Collections highlights in 2018 included: the award of an Honorary Degree to the writer Patrick McGrath by the University in June in recognition of the generous donation of his literary papers to the University Archives to support learning and research; the display of a specially-curated version of our Hosts & Champions exhibition at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia in April; and the fantastic exhibition created by our ARTUHR5 students in November – Pop and Protest: the Musicians’ Union in the 1980s showcases material from the Musicians’ Union Archive (and is on display in the University Library until March 2019).
Finally we would like to thank our team of volunteers who have worked so hard throughout the year to support us making our collections more accessible to all. And a big thank you to Lucy, our Heritage Studies student, who raised the profile of our collections on Wikipedia.
We wish all our users and supporters a very happy Xmas.
The University Archives will reopen on 3 January 2019.
2017: 1. University of Stirling; 2. NHS Forth Valley; 3. Peter Mackay
2016: 1. NHS Forth Valley; 2. University of Stirling; 3. Lindsay Anderson
2015: 1. NHS Forth Valley; 2. Musicians’ Union; 3. University of Stirling