Published on October 7th, 2021 by gavin

Preserving Brass Band Heritage: call for volunteers to help make the National Brass Band Archive accessible to the public

Brass Bands England (BBE) is looking for volunteers to support its two archivists in making the National Brass Band Archive accessible to the public ahead of its move to a new home at Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield. 

Since spring 2021, a team has been working to list and catalogue the Brass Band Archive collection, currently based at the BBE offices in Barnsley, to prepare the collection for its move. This work has been supported by a wonderful team of volunteers. With their help the project has now listed the collection’s audio records, uniforms, trophies, instruments and other memorabilia, as well as reaching the point of listing over 3,000 sets of music.

The full collection includes a total of approximately 9,000 sets of music. This call for both on-site and remote volunteers is to help process the last part of the music collection and to assist with the movement of materials to Heritage Quay.

In-person volunteers will work with the archive collections on-site at the BBE offices. This work will consist of listing the sheet music collection in an Excel spreadsheet and repackaging the materials into archival grade folders and boxes. Volunteers may help create content for BBE’s social media platforms by noting any distinguishing features about the materials they work with, thus raising the profile of the Archive online.

Remote-working volunteers can contribute their knowledge of brass banding history and/or research time to the project. They will assist with compiling accurate records of the sheet music collection by contributing information about composers and arrangers, music publication dates and other relevant information that might offer insights into the wider context of the collection. This information will also be recorded in an Excel spreadsheet, so some computer literacy will be an advantage for the remote roles.

All roles can be carried out flexibly depending on availability, although volunteers working at the BBE office will be required to work within typical office hours (i.e. 9am-5pm). Volunteers travelling to the office will have their travel expenses reimbursed.

Expanding this team has been made possible by the relaxation of rules around working during the pandemic, although all workplace rules will continue to be observed. The number of roles will be limited, depending on the availability of space to ensure that the workplace is Covid-secure in line with government guidance at all times. Full training will be provided.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Archive, please email one of the BBE Archivists, Michaela ([email protected]) or Fran ([email protected]), outlining why you are interested in the project and any experience you have with archives, sheet music, or bands.

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