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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Guest Post! #miniobjects from Essex

Mini objects

Hannah Salisbury, Access and Participation Officer, Essex Record Office
I like things that are the wrong size, both giant things and miniature things, but here I am going to be focusing on the smaller end of that scale. As well as entertaining me, our smallest items can also entertain and interest our visitors and readers of our blog.
Tiny things can also of course present their own conservation and storage challenges; they are much more vulnerable to being lost, and need special looking after.
Here are two of the smallest things we look after at the Essex Record Office, which have both featured on our blog and have both had special packaging designed for them by our Conservators to help keep them that little bit safer.
The first miniature document to feature on our blog was this one:
D/DLu 17/6 is definately very small.
It measures just 36 x 26 mm and it now lives in a specially made folder that protects it and makes it harder to lose.
D/DLu 17/6 in its specially made folder.
It is a tiny sketchbook containing miniature drawings of local places by Clarissa Sandford Bramston, wife of Reverend John Bramston from 1832 (vicar of Great Baddow, 1830-40; vicar of Witham, 1840-72; Dean of Winchester, 1872-1883). We don’t know exactly when the drawings were made but they must date to before 1844 when Clarissa died. Perhaps someone with a strong magnifying glass and an interest in Essex architecture may be able to suggest a date?
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The next miniature item to feature on our blog may well be the smallest book in our collection. It is just 2.5 inches tall, and is seventeenth-century book of Psalms written in a kind of shorthand developed by a man named Jeremiah Rich.
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The tiny book now has its own small folder to protect it back in its box amongst larger neighbours.
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What is the smallest item in your collection? How do you use it with your visitors, and has caring for it presented you with any particular challenges?

Thanks Hannah for this fantastic post! Here's a bit more about our guest contributor:


I am Access and Participation Officer at the Essex Record Office, the storehouse of Essex History. It’s my job to find ways to engage people with our varied collections, from medieval Latin texts to twentieth-century oral history recordings. I grew up in Essex but have only really got to know the place through working at ERO. Essex has a bit of a reputation as a loud, brash, tacky place, but it’s an incredibly varied county, which includes coastal communities, historic market towns, acres and acres of agricultural land, and post-war New Towns. One of my main historical interests in the First World War, so it has been fascinating over the last year or so to explore the First World War documents in our collections and to share the stories that they tell. Out of work I enjoy photography, especially trying to show the more picturesque side of our county. You can see some of the results of my attempts here: http://toomanyphotos.wordpress.com/

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