Archives October 28, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
With the Mary Robinson Archive currently in the news (and discussed here already) it brings the wider theme of what to do with archives. Sell them (and there are plenty of Universities abroad with deep pockets for this type of thing) , donate them to the State or donate them to the state with conditions attached (i.e. there be a Museum in Mayo) .
Although having watched Prime Time last night, There may well be some further questions around the housing of the Robinson archive.
It seems that Robinson wants to start a new pattern along the lines of US Presidents who donate their archives and have buildings named after them to house the collections.
In the realm of Political Archives much of it tends to be donated to Universities, The National Library or other State institutions. In a few cases private collections such as the Jackie Clarke collection in Ballina have led to Museums being established. The Clarke Collection was suggested as a venue for the Robinson archive but I gather The Clarke Museum doesn’t have room to store all of its own material never mind the Robinson stuff too. Some of the agenda is I imagine to try and ultimately make Ballina some kind of archive hub …. The Enda Kenny archive, a Pee Flynn one etc to follow. All of which would have some merit for there to be a decent archives hub outside of Dublin. That said Ballina is not the easiest place to get to on Public Transport.
I’d be regularly contacted and I’m sure it’s the same with wbs and The Left Archive, by students or scholars looking for particular material. I hear tales of appointments to view particular archives that would put some of the Hospital waiting lists to shame, someone contacted me recently who had managed to secure access to a certain parties papers in 2029! (I hope that it was due to the 20 year rule) Not much good if your course is well over by then. Indeed it’s a pity that whole collections rather than individual items tend to be covered by the 20 year rule.
Some Parties have donated material but resources are scarce and most institutions are underfunded. Due to these lack of resources within the various institutions some Parties ended up having send their own staff in for a year or two to catalogue it. Other donations I’m told have yet to be cataloged, never mind digitised.
I get given material as people want it out there and viewable, they know at some stage it will be scanned and put online and if it’s particularly good exhibited in the flesh. There’s a feeling that donations to some institutions can tend to disappear into storage, may take years before they are catalogued, digitised (if they are ever done) and may never see the light of a display case. Which is an awful pity.
It was suggested to me last night that I should get my collection valued should I ever want to write off some Tax!