The Archive project
In 2010 Hope Bourne, a longstanding member of The Exmoor Society and a well-known Exmoor artist and writer, passed away leaving almost all her belongings to the Society. These included over 700 books, pamphlets and journals; her correspondence; manuscripts; drawings and paintings and items such as her china and wellington boots. Simply finding space for all these objects and archive items proved quite a challenge for the Society, a charity, which then operated in only two rooms.
The Society’s Trustees had for some time considered moving premises and also doing more with the archive papers that had been accumulating for over 50 years. Once Hope’s collection was added in, the need for both became more apparent. Thus the Trustees set about finding the resources to employ a full-time archivist. In March 2014 Dr Helen Blackman took up the position as outreach archivist for two years funded by the Society, the ENPA, charities and individuals. Her task, with the help of volunteers, was to catalogue and conserve the letters, photographs, maps, reports, minutes, pamphlets and books collected by the Society and make them more widely known and available to the public. At around the same time, fortunately for the Society, a benefactor bought them a much more spacious property.