Unlocking Baptist history's hidden treasure
A project to provide opportunities for people to learn about the important part Baptists played in the history of the UK and the world stepped up a gear this week, with the launch of a new website and the beginning of its outreach phase.
Earlier this year Oxford’s Regent’s Park College received £488,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Baptist Union Newington Court Fund for the Baptist History - Hidden Treasure project.
Regent’s houses the Angus Library and Archive, which now comprises over 70,000 printed books, pamphlets, journals, church and association records, church histories, manuscript letters and other artefacts from the late fifteenth century to the present day. This week the new website - theangus.rpc.ox.ac.uk
– went live.
The website will provide information about using The Angus as well as providing a portal to the many resources and activities that are being developed as part of the project.
For example on the website people can:
Search for details of Baptist missionaries in Family History
Book tickets for the seminars, training days and exhibitions
Download Archive lists of church records and histories held in The Angus.
Search the library catalogue
An outreach phase, which will enable people to learn from and participate in the heritage contained in the collection via a multitude of outreach methods, is also a significant part of the project.
From January people will also be able to start downloading the school resources from the website, and later in 2014 they will also be able to search the Archive catalogue.
The school resources will include lesson starters and in-depth teaching resources are being created specifically for Key Stage 3 & 4 students, in collaboration with volunteer teachers from a variety of schools across the UK.
In a statement the Angus said that the ‘teachers we have spoken with have been hugely positive about the project, and we look forward to working with Teacher Volunteers to produce truly relevant and engaging resources.
‘We will also work with schools seeking independent learning opportunities for their A-level students and host Archive Taster Sessions to help students develop valuable research skills.’
Exhibitions and Talks
In addition two free exhibitions are held in college each year throughout the duration of the project, with two accompanying seminars given by an expert for each exhibition. In October, the Angus opened its first exhibition on the topic of slavery
Over the next two years, the exhibition programme includes a diverse range of topics such as: Pioneer Women, Rebellion, Fair Trade, and Hymns and Poetry, with the next seminar being presented by Prof. Cora Kaplan on Slavery on 28 November 2013. Tickets are free of charge and can be booked on our website.
And finally, as part of the legacy plan, the Angus will be holding Protecting and Telling your Church’s Story courses in churches across the UK. The courses will train church communities in the skills needed to preserve church records for future generations, and teach them how to tell their story by writing church histories.
College Librarian the Revd Emma Walsh said, ‘The beginning of the outreach phase marks the start of the visible stage of the project. This is the most accessible part of the project, and, indeed, the most exciting.
‘We are thrilled to launch the new website as it will provide a portal to The Angus and its treasures putting them on show to the rest of the world, to be used, enjoyed and appreciated by a variety of different communities.’
To find out more about the Baptist History - Hidden Treasure project, visit theangus.rpc.ox.ac.uk
Pic credit: Regent's Park College, Oxford