Wexford County Archive carries out a range of services which include:
Acquisition of collections
We actively identify and acquire original materials documenting the archival heritage of County Wexford in line with our Acquisition Policy. These items are in turn stored, preserved and catalogued in line with international standards of collections care before being made available for research purposes.
Caring for collections
Wexford County Archive is committed to the preservation of collections in its care and to balancing this with their availability to researchers. This is outlined in our Preservation Policy. Preventative preservation is incorporated into the daily work duties in the archive. Once an item or a collection is placed in our custody, a number of preservation measures are adopted:
- items are examined to ensure that there is no insect infestation or active mould present – if either condition exists, the material is immediately sealed in individual Ziplock bags and sent to an appropriate facility to be frozen
- items are accessioned, i.e. given an accession number and brief description
- all metal fasteners are carefully removed from documents and replaced with plastic clips
- documents are flattened where practicable
- conservation status of items noted in our conservation register and appropriate treatment undertaken
- items then placed in acid-free storage enclosures, i.e. folder or box on shelving in our air conditioned archives strongroom until they are catalogued
We welcome all enquiries by post, telephone and email and endeavour to reply within a specified timeframe (an initial acknowledgement will be sent within 5 working days regarding all postal and email requests). Please note that while we are unable to undertake research on your behalf, we can advise on the most appropriate sources in the Archive, including collections relevant to your research that may be held by other repositories.
In addition to providing a research and retrieval service to the staff and members of Wexford Local Authorities, the Archive facilitates academic, local and family history research through our Reading Room. Finding aids (or descriptive lists) to collections are produced by the archivist and made available to researchers who can then request specific documents relevant to their research.
Not every document or collection that is deposited in the Archive is in good condition. The combination of a number of factors – excessive handling, inadequate storage and challenging environmental conditions – can hasten the deterioration of items, particularly those that are paper-based. Some items are in such poor condition that the costs of conservation would be too prohibitive, and so alternative means of salvaging the information have to be investigated, such as photographing the item or digitising it using an overhead camera.
Conservation is a specialist task that can only be undertaken by a professional conservator. Usually the work involves:
- paper repair
- re-sewing bindings
- manufacture of acid-free end boards for bound volumes
- restoration of bindings
- manufacture of custom-made slip cases to protect volumes
Original covers and spines are preserved where possible. Conservation work is costly and has to be out-sourced to an appropriate conservator. Wexford County Archive has been particularly fortunate over the last eight years in obtaining funding from The Heritage Council for a number of conservation related projects – see Heritage Council grants. The funding pertained not only to collections from the county archive but also to collections of local parish groups, schools and heritage groups, which were overseen by the archivist.
The archive service regularly displays archival materials from its holdings in appropriate display cases across a number of locations, including Wexford County Council’s headquarters at Carricklawn, in Enniscorthy Castle and in the National 1798 Rebellion Centre, Enniscorthy. The archivist also supports and advises local groups in exhibiting and developing their own heritage events, e.g. Mount Carmel lace display, ICA exhibitions.
Wexford County Archive actively offers a range of outreach services:
- participation in workshops and talks around the county, including for annual events such as Bealtaine, Heritage Week and Archives Awareness Month
- workshops on preserving family records can be arranged for groups (booking essential)
- talks are delivered to local businesses, societies, clubs, schools and community groups
- preservation advice is given on request to individuals, local groups and businesses in caring for their collections
- school and group visits are facilitated in the county archive, e.g. each year since 2005, a group of senior healthcare personnel from St. John of God Healthcare based in Perth, Australia visit the county archive to hear about the formative years of the St. John of God order which was established in Wexford town in 1871.
The archivist provides a records management service to Wexford Local Authorities which includes the management of records that are under 30 years and the cataloguing and storage of non-current records and their retrieval on request.