ArchI’ve Explored

Explore Your Archive is an Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) tool for public and private organisations across the UK and Ireland to showcase the hidden gems stored in their collections. The campaign provides a range of resources to help you learn more about archives and help archivists share the collections they care for.

The following pages contain information about what archives are, why they are important and how you can get involved in advocating and caring for collections. Click the link below to find out more about what archives are and to see examples of records held in archives stores across the UK and Ireland.


ArchI’ve Discovered

The Common Room of The Great North – Knowledge and Collection; adapting our programme during a pandemic.

In the heart of Newcastle Upon Tyne’s city centre, you will find one of the largest, most comprehensive, public collections on mining engineering in the world. Established in 1852, The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers’ core purpose was to improve safety and to alleviate the horrific impact of disasters on mining …

Keeping up with the Archivists at the Richard Burton Archives, Swansea University

Due to the current COVID19 pandemic, the Richard Burton Archives temporarily closed its doors to the public on 19th March, and since then all staff have been working from home. The last month has been a bit of a blur of frantic messages to IT, getting to grips with remote working, and an increase in snacking. …

Wellbeing and Archives: Sustained Engagement with the Past is Good for You.

In May, History Begins at Home was launched.  This national public-facing campaign delivered via social media – Facebook @historybeginsathome and Twitter @beginshistory –uses archives to improve wellbeing by encouraging new audiences to explore the past they are directly connected to. The idea behind the campaign is to encourage people to connect or re-connect with members …

ArchI’ve Created

You’ll find all the resources you need to take part in Explore Your Archive below

The real star of the campaign is the stories that the collections in your archives can tell.

First, decide on a theme and what records in your collections best tell the story. Then take a look at the toolkit and use it to complement your narrative.

Download the resources below to find everything you need to take part in Explore Your Archive:

The toolkit below contains a wide range of campaign artwork, poster and press release templates to be used by anyone who wants to take part in the campaign. There’s no limit to what you can do. Click the toolkit download button to see more.

You can also get involved with our social media campaign, which now runs all year long. For more information click below;

Contact us

For any enquiries about how to use the toolkit, or to find out more, please email

ArchI’ve Celebrated

Explore Your Archive is a campaign that anyone can take part in at any time. Use the branding to promote events run by your organisation or run your own specific Explore event to raise awareness of your collections.

Each year there is a main Launch Week for the campaign and we aim to hold a launch event in each of the four ARA ‘Nations’ in that week – in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (the ARA has an Ireland region that covers the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland). A social media campaign is also run across the week and all record keeping organisations are encouraged to get involved in some way.

In 2020, the launch week will run from 21 – 29 November

Search the lists below to find an event in your area. Can’t see one? Create one! Use the Submit your event button below to tell us what’s happening in your area. Remember to use the toolkit to promote your event.

Recent Events

ArchI’ve Learnt

The varied content and format of archives makes them the perfect learning resource for a wide range of subjects. Archives are are being used in schools and community learning groups across the UK and Ireland to teach a range of subjects including History, English, Drama, Geography, Science and more.

Before using archives, as a learning resource, it is important that students understand what archives are, why they are important and why they are kept. The video below gives a short introduction to archives which is suitable for all ages and can be used as part of any lesson plan involving archives. The information provided on the What is an Archive page of this website may also be of use.

If you would like a copy of the video to use offline, please email

The videos below add more detail about particular archives. if you would like to see your archive featured here send us an email.

If you are new to using archives as an educational aid, click the inspiration pack link below to download a range of ideas for using the collections held in your local archives. Use the links below to find an archive near you!

Using Archives for Document Analysis?

The resources below have been developed for those who want to use archives for document analysis projects in schools or community groups. The sheets are completely generic to allow them to be used in conjunction with any archive collection. They have been split by year group and document type and teachers notes are provided for ease of use.

These resources can be used by teachers or archivists working with school groups. Click the links below to download the relevant resources.

Further resources and help guides will be added over the coming months. If you have a particular guide or resource you’d like to see included then email us at If you re unable to access the resources via the website, please send us an email and we will provide in another form.