Our new Collection & Development Manager Richard Lewis has been with Heritage & Culture Warwickshire for nearly a month, so it’s time to find out what he thinks, and where he’s come from!
I am delighted to say how impressed and inspired I am by my new colleagues and in turn how excited I am by the opportunity to work with them all. I am fortunate to have worked with great people and in a variety of interesting places and I am confident that this good fortune will hold with Heritage & Culture Warwickshire.
Amazing Our Warwickshire
The dedicated and professional way in which the team preserve the heritage of the county whilst finding new and innovative ways to allow people to access and interact with their heritage is wonderful. The amazing Our Warwickshire project not only allows people access to their heritage anytime of the day and from anywhere across the globe, impressive in its own right, but also allows people to contribute to the preservation of the collective heritage of the area through sharing their own personal memories.
Equally as impressive is the, often unseen, work that goes on across our sites to ensure that the irreplaceable collections we have are safely preserved. This work is the foundation upon which we build to allow people to interact with their heritage. These interactions take place in a variety of ways and the recently refurbished Market Hall Museum is a brilliant and high profile example of this, as is our record office set in the beautiful Priory Park.
I suppose I should say a little about myself and how I came to find myself at Warwickshire. Having always had a keen interest in history I attended Aberystwyth University and completed a BA in History and Welsh History and an MA in the History of Wales. Throughout my study I had always worked in pubs and spent the next few years continuing to do so. I always wished to work with history and heritage in some way but hadn’t quite worked out how. It was whilst counselling one of my colleagues on his options as a recent history graduate I realised archives was the route for me.
I volunteered at Ceredigion Archives and then completed a year as a Graduate Trainee at Gloucestershire Archives before returning to Aberystwyth University to complete an MScEcon in Archive Administration. Between then and starting in Warwickshire I have been lucky enough to work in a variety of roles, both within local authorities (Staffordshire County Council, West Yorkshire Joint Services and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council) and outside of local authorities (The Mercers’ Company and Bletchley Park Trust).
The power of heritage
I truly believe that the power of heritage is the safeguarding of collective memories and explaining why we are who we are why we are where we are. In my short time with Heritage & Culture Warwickshire it is evident that a huge number of rich and diverse memories are safely preserved and we do a fabulous job of helping people understand more about their families, their communities and, ultimately, themselves.