While Little Hall has been unable to open some of our volunteers have been kept busy doing tasks that can be done from a home computer. The result is a database and the beginning of a digital framework of the whole collection at Little Hall which includes the newly cleaned library books.
Back in 2017 we were approached by a representative of the local branch of The Arts Society (previously NADFAS) offering to carry out a project. We chose the task of digitising the catalogue of the museum collection. In July 2018 they delivered back the result, just in time for a student who was with us on summer vacation to help bring it up to date. In the following year we scanned earlier photographs of our collection and took new ones.
The catalogue of books in the Gayer-Anderson library had not been included in the initial project. With those books about to be removed for cleaning we hurried to get them included in the digital records so we could use that to manage their return. Several volunteers got this task started and Susan finished it. She was keen to continue with more of this work so the next stage was to create a link between catalogue entries and photographs.
Whilst Susan was entering the data Graham, our chairman, had been preparing a database to link all the information. Around the beginning of April all this came together, two years after we started and well timed in providing us with an activity that could continue under lock-down.
This isn’t an end in itself but the beginning of having a digital framework to which we can attach all the other information we have now and that we will gather in the future. As well as being a tool for direct use in our research and museum organisation it could be used to generate material for wider dissemination.
Such access would depend on our website and it so happens that is about to get its first major upgrade in 13 years. As well as presenting Little Hall in a fresh way this will also give us the capability for presenting a wider variety of information. All the talk in the museum world is currently about ‘virtual museums’ and at Little Hall we’re now in a position to participate in that.