Rarest Brunel treasures available to view
Press release issued: 16 August 2011
Some of the treasures from the National Brunel Archive will be available for the public to view when they go on display in the ss Great Britain Trust’s new Brunel Institute. The display marks the launch of a new range of events called the ‘Archive in Five’ showcasing some the collection’s rarest objects during lunch hours.
Curators from the National Brunel Archive – a collection made up of artefacts drawn from University of Bristol Brunel Collection and ss Great Britain Trust collections – will select one object for each of the ‘Archive in Five’ events. These include Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s engineering designs, his locked diaries, stereoscopic photographs, and the ship’s passenger letters.
Held on Tuesdays (12.30 pm to 1.30 pm), Wednesdays (2 pm to 3 pm), and the first two Saturdays of the month (1 pm to 2 pm), the ‘Archive in Five’ events, are ideal for visitors who have limited time as curators will provide unrestricted access to the Brunel Institute’s David MacGregor Library where the objects will be on display. Staff will also be on hand to provide further information about the National Brunel Archive and its contents, and to ensure the objects remain safe.
Eleni Papavasileiou, the ss Great Britain Trust’s Curator of Library & Archive, explained: “We will open the doors to the Brunel Institute, next to the ss Great Britain, for ‘Archive in Five’. It will be an ideal opportunity for anyone to have a quick peak in their lunch break, or during a visit to Brunel’s ss Great Britain, at some of the treasures within the collection.
“These might include anything from a Brunel diary or stereoscopic photographs, to passenger letters or one of our latest acquisitions. The curatorial team will select objects at random to inject an element of surprise.
Rhian Tritton, the Trust’s Director of Museum and Educational Services, commented: “The National Brunel Archive, in collaboration with the University of Bristol, is a collection of global significance, and it is important to the Trust and the University that we ensure as many people as possible can access the objects and learn from them.”
The Brunel Institute cares for approximately 45,000 items, including 4,500 maritime, engineering and ship-building books; 2,000 ship plans; 100 ship models; 35,000 maritime photographs; passenger and crew diaries and letters; 50 films; the Lloyds Register dating back to the 1700s; and the Illustrated London News.