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Staffordshire’s Archive and Heritage Services to begin phased reopening

Tue 7 Jul 2020

Staffordshire’s record office is preparing to reopen to the public from Tuesday 14 July.

The office, on Eastgate Street in Stafford will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for two weeks and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for a further two weeks, before resuming normal opening times from 11 August.  Saturday opening will commence from 22 August reverting back to one per month.

Reduced numbers of visitors, social distancing arrangements, sneeze screens and hand sanitisers will all be in place to ensure visitors and staff are kept safe. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will also be distributed to staff where appropriate.

Visitors to the records office will be limited to four at a time and people interested in viewing original documents will need to request them before hand.

Meeting rooms will remain closed and there will be no access to PCs, printers, photocopiers and micro fiche/films. Toilets will be open and cleaned twice a day for visitors to the Record Office.  Although there will be no physical events or activities in the office, all the usual digital archive and heritage services and collections will be available online.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Archives and Heritage, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to our Record Offices and resuming our Museum Service.  Our public spaces will look a bit different as we have introduced some physical changes and new processes to ensure our staff and visitors are safe and we ask people to work with us so that we can provide access to our historic collections. 

“Hand sanitising, hygiene and social distancing arrangements will all be in place and if Personal Protective Equipment is necessary it will be distributed to staff where appropriate.”

People will also be able to request and view documents from the William Salt Library by ordering them in advance, however, the Grade 2 listed building will remain closed as social distancing is not possible.

Mithra Tonking, Chair of the William Salt Library Trust said: “Working with the Archive Service we are offering access to the Library’s collections through Staffordshire Record Office. Advance ordering of items will be required but we hope visitors will understand that these changes are necessary for now.”

Lichfield History Access Point will reopen in the Autumn after Lichfield Library reopens for browsing in September.

People can get further details on the new arrangements for Staffordshire Archive & Heritage services at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives