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News > Christ College Archive > Not the British Museum

Not the British Museum

Items kindly donated to Christ College Archive are carefully recorded and stored
Collections Centre. Christ College Archive. Photo credit: Christ College Archive
Collections Centre. Christ College Archive. Photo credit: Christ College Archive

With far fewer than the 80,000 items displayed in The British Museum and with no treasures that date from before the 19th century, Christ College Archive pales into insignificance compared to most museums - British or otherwise. 

Indeed, Christ College Archive includes very few items with significant monetary value. However, all the items we hold are meaningful to our community and many are a priceless addition to the collection.

Amazingly, some of the rarest items are documents such as leave slips, clothing lists and letters to parents. Documents of routine communication tell a particularly strong story of the time in which they were reproduced but hardly any exist now, even though they would have been reproduced hundreds of times over the decades. 

For that reason, as well for reasons of good practice, once accepted into the Archive each piece of paper, each item of uniform, each photograph is carefully itemised and stored. With media attention focusing on shortcomings in much larger museums, here is a reassuring schedule of what happens when a donation is accepted into Christ College Archive.  

After communication with the donor, the Archive accepts the item(s) and records the 'Entry number'. It is prefixed with BRCCC followed by the year. Together the elements create a unique identifier that links the catalogue description with the donor and any accompanying record of permissions or special conditions.

Usually a thread of emails and an official thank you letter will form an informal record of transfer of ownership. For more complex collections, such as those with monetary value or for any collection given by the executors of an estate, further paperwork is requested.

Any informal photographs also require additional documentation to ensure that all parties are clear about the way the photograph may be used, not just now but also in coming decades.

All items are recorded in MODES, museum cataloguing software that allows us to describe the item and record its donor, together with any additional notes.

Donations are carefully packed and boxed in one of our various collections: Objects, Documents, Photographs, Textiles. Larger collections, such as documents and photographs from a pupil’s time at school, are kept as a single named collection. 

The unique identifier and the software allows us to easily retrieve items that are pertinent for display or for sharing with pupils and OBs.

With some pride, Christ College Archive is able to offer timely reassurance that all items accepted into the Collection have been fully catalogued and are carefully stored. But that’s not the end of the story.

We are always on the lookout for more photographs and textiles to add to the Collection. We are also interested in school documentation of previous eras as well as objects that may have their own story to tell. If you are considering ‘transferring ownership’ from your attic to the Collection, please do make contact with Felicity. She really would love to hear from you.


From the R S Tuck Collection (BRCCC2011.289) 

More rare than you might expect! 




CCB Development Office

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