Sarah and I recently attended a Cornish Archives Network (CAN) meeting at Trerice House.Trerice is an Elizabethan manor house on the outskirts of Newquay which is the perfect setting for like-minded heritage enthusiasts. We all gathered around a long table in the Great Hall with a roaring fire and tea and cake - a wonderful experience!
CAN meetings are chaired by Cornwall Records Office and are designed for local Cornish Archives to connect with each other in order to keep one another informed on any collections and projects each other are working on. Most importantly, it also provides training and support for many of the smaller community archives and heritage groups who do not have a qualified Archivist and are seeking guidance on such things as copyright procedure and advisable packaging practices.
Although we do have an Archivist ourselves, I found it very useful to attend to learn more about the different resources locally that I could direct students and the public to when answering enquiries. CAN includes many small, volunteer-led local archives who will often focus their attention on the history of one particular aspect of Cornish history or a specific parish which could be an invaluable resource for specialised local research.
I did not know much about archive networks previously so it has given me a lot to think about how archives can reach out to one other through mutually beneficial connections, particularly between Archivists and volunteers who run archives.
And of course it was a good excuse for a peek round Trerice House!