Those who work with archives know that they possess an almost magical ability to connect us to the past. Since launching back in May, the History Begins at Home (HBAH) campaign has aimed to harness their ability to connect us to each other.
Developed by the Chief Archivists in Local Government Group and the Archives for Wellbeing Network, HBAH looks to promote wellbeing by encouraging people to start intergenerational conversations about the past. The promotion of fortnightly themes, such as ‘Food’, ‘Fashion’ and ‘Work’, has helped the campaign to attract more than 1,500 followers across Twitter and Facebook, and sparked some wonderful conversations and memories. For example, one participant recently related how her husband’s grandmother told her that she joined the Land Army because a friend who joined the Wrens had to do exercises in her knickers on top of the Liver building every morning, and she didn’t fancy that!
The success of the campaign is largely due to many archives across the country joining in by sharing content and reposting HBAH posts and tweets. The latter is particularly important as, without an advertising budget, the campaign relies on these reposts to spread the word as widely as possible. The campaign has also benefited from a small group of volunteers who have been helping to prepare material and develop the campaign’s strategy.
With #HBAHBeingThere running until 27th September, forthcoming themes include #HBAHNightsOut (28th September – 11th October), #HBAHNightsIn (12th – 25th October), #HBAHSounds (26th October – 8th November) and #HBAHHome (9th – 22nd November).
At a time when many are experiencing social isolation, the opportunity to share memories and engage in conversations that they may not otherwise have had is clearly one that many people appreciate. Tweeting as part of recent theme #HBAHBeingThere (which looked to prompt conversations around people’s memories of significant historical events), one member of the public shared her memory of a royal visit by the Queen and Prince Philip, and her subsequent pride in hearing her son later play the clarinet for the royal couple. She went on to add, ‘Amazing how one memory can spark another. We are all in the process of making local history and family history; however, it’s only on reflection that that realisation takes place.’ We couldn’t agree more.
Gary Tuson, County Archivist, Norfolk Record Office
Chris Tracy, Project Officer, Archives for Wellbeing Network
Follow the History Begins at Home campaign on Twitter (@BeginsHistory) and Facebook (@historybeginsathome).
Visit www.historybeginsathome.org for more information and resources to help people start, capture and keep intergenerational conversations.
To be added to the campaign mailing list, or to contribute content, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.