Another enlightening and varied week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.
One of our most recent events was our Photo Afternoon on Thursday 9th July. We try and hold the Photo Afternoons every two months or so, and the idea is simply to get out a few of our photographs for people to look through and chat over in our Research Room.
The idea started as a simple way to encourage more visitors to visit CHAC and therefore shape the perception of the Centre and increase our profile in the local community. Yeovil Library kindly allow us to have a display every two months in the front library window and we use this to display a ‘Yeovil and South Somerset theme’ and forthcoming events. This helps us and the library often receives an increased number of visitors asking about our window display. We state specifically that “booking is essential,” as we can only accommodate around 8-15 people in our front room and as we have a shared car park, parking can be tricky. However, this is why we decided upon a 2pm start time, as there are more spaces available, with many of our colleagues going home at this time. We also thought about numbers, as the event is free at the moment, with donations gratefully accepted but we also wanted to keep the event manageable and not create extra work.
There are also environmental considerations. The main issue is having four or five boxes of photographs stored in environmental conditions suddenly taken out into a warm room for a period of two hours. We try to let each box acclimatize in a separate quarantine area ‘before use.’
There is also a ‘time’ issue. We could make specific selections on ‘photographic themes’ and select 40 or so images from the boxes. In this way, we would know exactly how many photographs are out and could also advertise these themes. However, we then have to place all the photographs back in the correct boxes. This takes time in itself, without having other projects on the go as well.
On 9th July, we enjoyed our busiest Photo Afternoon yet, with 6 people in total. Three visitors were ‘regulars’ that we can contact as they provided their contact details and three came as result of seeing our display – one of which told us of her brother in the photograph on display. One of the highlights is hearing the nature of the discussions; particularly between someone who has lived in Yeovil all their lives and can remember walking down the streets at the time the photographs were taken with someone who has only lived in Yeovil for 10 years; or even just moved to the town. Interestingly, we also have people who lived in Yeovil in the 1960s, moved away for work and then returned in the 1990s or 2000s and wish to see what went on in the intervening years!
On 9th July, the Photographic Collection was even increased as one visitor brought in two photographs for us to copy; one of the VE Day Victory Parade in the Borough, Yeovil in May 1945 and his school photograph from Buckler’s Mead School, 1972, which proved a little more tricky to photograph! Our regular visitor even took the time to name as many teachers and pupils in the photograph while he was present with us, which is so important in terms of documentation.
So, photos framed pm by memories, past, present and future and often by individual curiosity.
The success of the event is measured by the simple reply upon leaving of: “When is the next one?”
We will let people know when the next Photo Afternoon is due to be.
P.S. The Yeovil In The Past 2016 Calendar will available shortly!
Just getting going on our latest Photo Afternoon!