Skip to content

Archives Revealed: Letting the People Know

Christine Wood brings us up to date on the latest outreach activities of the Archives Revealed Hidden Archives of Cupar project.

Bell Baxter School, J Valentine & Sons, 1934 (JV-A-294)

It’s been a while since I last posted, but there has been good reason! My colleagues and I have been busy getting out there letting the people know what wonderful records on Cupar we hold at the University of St Andrews Library’s Special Collections. In what ways have we been engaging with the Cupar community? Well, let me share with you some of what we have been doing.

Our first specific outreach event, which I mentioned in my January blog, was when we had a stall displaying original documents from the collection at the Genealogy Open Day at Cupar Library hosted by Fife Family History Society on 22 January. We were delighted to have the opportunity to speak with 32 visitors to the stall.

Some of the audience at the Cupar Heritage Talk on 25 March 2019

On 25 March I had the privilege to give a talk to 40 members (and visitors) of Cupar Heritage Centre on Hidden Burgh: Restoring Cupar’s Place at the heart of Fife. The presentation focused on explaining what the project encompassed and began our efforts at engaging the Cupar community in their heritage. Incidentally, this was the first time our new project banner was on display.

Our new banner on display at the Cupar Heritage Talk on 25 March 2019

During the spring we ran two workshops for the Cupar community. The first was on palaeography on 11 April. Rachel Hart, the University’s Senior Archivist and Keeper of Manuscripts and Muniments, led the workshop and fascinated everyone with her knowledge on how to decipher handwriting in old Scottish documents. The attendees had the opportunity to look at original manuscripts and tried their hand at reading them.

The second workshop was entitled “Caring for your Family Photographs” and was held in the Cupar Library on 22 May. The University’s Photographic Collections Manager, Rachel Nordstrom, gave a brief history of photography and explained to participants how to identify old photographic processes and take care of their own family photographic archive.

Photographic Workshop on 22 May 2019
Fife Show – Cupar Project stand and banner on 18 May 2019 (© Maia Sheridan)

A very popular yearly event in Cupar is The Fife Show which was held on 18 May. Last year the weather was lovely apparently, but sadly this was not the case in 2019. It simply poured and the wind was fierce! However, we braved it all and managed to speak to 33 interested people, who were willing to stop under our gazebo and listen to us! They were from the Cupar agricultural community, such an important part of the life of the town and a new audience for us. All-in-all a successful day, despite the weather.

Fife Show, 18 May 2019. Left: University of St Andrews staff (Sarah, Maia and Julie) having a much-needed warming cuppa! Right: Sheep in paddock behind the Cupar Project stand awaiting the judges

The second outdoor event we attended was Cupar Highland Games on 16 June. Thankfully, the weather turned out to be much better after a very wet start. On this occasion, we shared our stall with Classic Cupar, who had four banners displaying old and new photographs of Cupar. As it turned out, Classic Cupar and the Hidden Burgh project complemented each other on the day which resulted in 90 visitors to our pitch.

Cupar Highland Games, 16 June 2019. Top: Visitors to Cupar Project/Classic Cupar stand. Bottom: Christine Wood, Archives Revealed project, with Campbell Lawson and Ian Copland from Classic Cupar

The Cupar Arts Festival was held between 15 and 23 June, so we decided to go along to the Cupar Corn Exchange (one of the venues) to promote the project. It was another beautiful day and there is always the concern that people would rather be outdoors rather than come inside. However, in the afternoon I was there, I was pleased to speak to 16 individuals – yet another genre of people was reached.

The last event we attended was the Cupar Vintage Festival on 3 August and what a day it turned out to be! Beautiful weather, lots going on outside in the Crossgate, and in the Corn Exchange there were many interesting stalls selling vintage clothing, jewelry, vinyl LPs, bags, hats and other wonderful things. We were delighted to have our stand in amongst all this and it was a good audience to chat to about our project. Over the day we had the privilege of conversing with 105 interested people – a real success!

Archives Revealed stall at Cupar Vintage Festival, before the crowds arrived, 3 August 2019
Top left: Visitors to Archives Revealed stall. Top right: Maia Sheridan, Manuscripts Archivist, ready to greet visitors. Bottom left: Assistant Archivist, Sarah Rodriguez, talking to an interested person. Bottom right: Some of the other stalls.

But that’s not the end of it! There are still some events to come – what are they? Here is the list:

Date and Time Description of Event Venue
Friday 23 August

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

People/Ancestry Workshop – how to research people from the past, particularly using Cupar Burgh records and other collections held at the University of St Andrews Cupar Library Room 14, Crossgate, Cupar, KY15 5AS
Tuesday 10 September

7:30 pm to 9.00 pm

Talk to Fife Family History Society entitled Hidden Burgh: Restoring Cupar’s Place in the Heart of Fife – discusses what the Archives Revealed project is all about and what it means to the local Cupar community Volunteer House, 69 Crossgate, Cupar, KY15 5AS
Tuesday 17 September

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Conservation and Preservation Workshop by University of St Andrews Library’s Conservator, Erica Kotze – for those interested in how to look after their own personal records, where and how to store them Cupar Library Room 14, Crossgate, Cupar, KY15 5AS
Friday 11 October

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

House History Workshop – how to research your home, particularly using Cupar Burgh records and other collections held at the University of St Andrews Cupar Library Room 14, Crossgate, Cupar, KY15 5AS
Wednesday 16 October

3:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Open Day/Show & Tell – view and hear about original records from the Cupar Burgh collection held by the University of St Andrews Library, Special Collections Division Cupar Baptist Church Hall,

79 Bonnygate, Cupar, KY15 4BY

Why not come along and see what’s going on? The three workshops are the only events which you need to book as places are limited. If you would like to attend any of those, please email me at caw23@st-andrews.ac.uk. Otherwise, just come along – we’d be delighted to see you.

So, until the next time, enjoy the rest of the summer.

Christine Wood
Project Archivist (Archives Revealed)

Related topics

Share this story


One reply to "Archives Revealed: Letting the People Know"

Leave a reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *