Up for the Challenge: South West Heritage Trust’s Take 10 Challenge
Planning your projects to map collections onto Know Your Place can be daunting. Which is why it is important to start with small steps.
In this blog, Eve Bickerton of the South West Heritage Trust describes how their team took the Take 10 Challenge to put Somerset’s heritage on the map.
The South West Heritage Trust
The South West Heritage Trust is an independent charity committed to protecting and celebrating Somerset and Devon’s rich heritage. Comprising of archive services in both Somerset and Devon, and Somerset museums, archaeology and HER (amongst other departments), the SWHT has been involved with Know Your Place in a variety of different ways.
Somerset Archives and Local Studies in particular has provided maps for digitisation to add to the map layers, and is now working with volunteers to digitise a number of collections, ready to be uploaded to the community layer.
The Take-10 Challenge
Earlier in the project timeline, the Know Your Place team launched the Take 10 Challenge, asking partner archives and museums to add 10 records to Know Your Place in 10 days.
When the Somerset pages went live, we thought this would be a really great way to kick-start our contributions, and to spread the word about the fantastic things that Know Your Place can do.
Choosing Our 10 items
We wanted to choose items that met several criteria:
- Our collecting policy covers the historic county of Somerset, which is a relatively large area. We wanted items which represented communities from different areas across the county.
- When we’d selected a number of items, we marked them on a map, to check that the spread was relatively even.
- We wanted items of interest, that provoked conversation and had stories to tell.
- We also wanted to use items that had appropriate permissions, and copyright that we understood, so we could add the items confident that we were not infringing any laws or understandings
Colleagues across the team contributed their thoughts of items that could be added, and we used it as an opportunity to highlight some of our key collections and current projects.
Preparing the Information
As recent workshops have explained, and we certainly agree, it works best to gather the images, the information and the text into one place, ready to upload in one lump. It makes the process much easier, and more efficient too.
We photographed the items we wanted to use, wrote the text that we wanted to accompany the items, and also wrote social media posts, to promote our work and the work of Know Your Place. We then created a Spreadsheet with all of this information in, that we could work from when uploading content.
We spent time developing an uploading pro-forma, so that the same information is added to the same fields each time. We felt this would help both us, by clarifying what information we need to add, and users, by helping them find the information they need, for each item added to Know Your Place by the South West Heritage Trust.
Uploading the Content
This was probably the easiest part of the process. Once I had the images ready, and all of the information, uploading the content to Know Your Place was simple. I gave myself plenty of time to make sure I was mapping the items to the correct location.
Using Social Media
We liaised closely with the Know Your Place team, and told them our plans, so when we starting posting, they were poised and ready to pick up on our promotions. As a service, Somerset Archives and Local Studies uses Facebook and Twitter to promote its work.
After each item added on Know Your Place, we created a Facebook and Twitter post to promote it, to ask users their opinions and to encourage them to ask questions and get involved.
Engagement with social media is not always immediately apparent, but our social media statistics show that the posts had a wide reach, and generated clicks and users on the website, which can only be a positive thing!
The Stories We Chose
Below are the stories we chose to highlight in our Take 10 Challenge – it was difficult to narrow our favourites down to just 10, but we’re really pleased with what we chose.
Hopefully you agree, and this blog post will inspire you to upload your own content and collections to Know Your Place!
- Sutton Mallet Church surrounded by scaffolding;
- Curry Rivel High Street through the ages;
- police outside Shire Hall in Taunton;
- Watchet Lifeboat Crew;
- The Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury;
- Dillington House, Ilminster;
- Dr J A Purves and his Dynasphere;
- Cheap Street in Frome;
- an oral history interview;
- Weston super Mare pier.
Our plan now is to begin working with volunteers to upload full collections of illustrations. In a similar pattern to the way Bristol Record Office added the Vaughn Postcards, we hope that volunteers will start digitising and uploading our collection of Braikenridge illustrations over the Summer of 2017. Watch this space!
Join the Group
Are you inspired to add your records to the map? You can find support and further information for local heritage projects in Somerset on the Somerset Heritage Facebook page: