Museum Week 2019 – Insole Court

The women working behind the scenes to keep the archive up and running: Gaynor Howard, Charlotte Brown, Catherine O'Brien, and Vanessa Cunningham.

It’s Museum Week and this year museums across the globe are celebrating the contribution of women in culture. The focus is not only on famous women in the fields of history, art, culture and science, but also all those anonymous women whose lives structure our society.

This year Museum Week is following seven different themes. Today's theme is secrets: examining museums’ best kept secrets from behind the scenes at larger institutions to the little-known facilities available in our communities.

At Insole Court, once referred to as Cardiff’s best kept secret, few people know that we have a dedicated archive room. For Museum Week we offer an inside look behind the scenes of Insole Court’s Archive and the team of women who run it.

Behind the beautiful building of Insole Court lies our own hidden treasure: our archive and collections team. Insole Court Trust owns a collection of historic items related to the house and the people whose lives were intertwined with it. Our collections include medals, maps, photographs, household items and oral history testimony.

The archive and collections team are a group of women from backgrounds of various aspects of culture, be it music, literature or history. We are in the process of building up a system in which to house the collections. Our role is to catalogue and preserve the collections as well as to facilitate access to the holdings. We have a range of interested visitors from researchers to artists to members of the public who have fond memories of Insole Court from their own past.

Of course, the building and running of the archive relies on much more support than just our small group. We have helpers of both genders as well as enjoying support from the Trust, and the Friends of Insole Court.

Insole Court Archive is living proof of the important role women have in culture. We are so glad that Museum Week has highlighted both the famous women who have made an impact and all women with small but important roles in championing heritage.

Our archive welcomes visits from researchers or otherwise interested parties by appointment. To get in touch with us to find out more, share your own memories of Insole Court or offer support, please email us at [email protected]

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