They offer insights into the mind of one of the twentieth century’s greatest authors and a glimpse into the family history and intrigue of some of Britain’s most influential aristocratic families. Now three collections in The University of Nottingham’s Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections have been recognised by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
Representatives of the MLA visited the University this week to tour the extensive archives housed on King’s Meadow Campus, and to present a plaque noting the Designation status of the University’s DH Lawrence, Portland of Welbeck and Newcastle of Clumber collections.
The MLA’s Designation Scheme identifies the pre-eminent collections of national and international importance held in England’s non-national museums, libraries and archives, based on their quality and significance. These inspiring collections represent a vital part of our national cultural and artistic heritage. The Scheme was launched in 1997 and now recognises 125 collections held in museums, libraries and archives.
The scheme recognises that organisations with Designated collections care for a significant part of England’s cultural heritage and works to raise standards across the sector. Organisations holding Designated collections are expected to work towards the provision of high-quality services which deliver the fullest possible access to those collections and to take a leadership role in the sector by helping other institutions in such ways as sharing expertise, offering advice and lending objects or materials.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Dodson received the plaque on behalf of the University. He said: “These collections are highly valued by The University of Nottingham, and we are delighted to receive this national recognition of their significance.”
Sam Bestwick, Director of Engagement for Museums, Libraries and Archives, East at the MLA, said:
“There are well over a hundred collections around the country and their diversity is enormous. But one of the fantastic elements of the collections at The University of Nottingham is the level of accessibility given to anyone who wants to see them — by the staff who understand the content, and who understand how to answer queries and help people navigate the content.
“One of the things I find attractive about visiting here is the enthusiasm of the staff to help people navigate their way through that material.”
Dorothy Johnston, Keeper of the Manuscripts at the University, said: “The Newcastle and Portland Collections and the papers of D H Lawrence draw researchers to Nottingham from all over the world and feature in many of our local displays and activities. We warmly welcome their status as designated collections and look forward to building on this achievement through further development programmes.”