Interesting news from the United Kingdom regarding the merger of the PRO and the Historic Manuscripts Commission. The interest shown by the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport (equivalent to Canadian Heritage) in archives, through the creation of the Task Force, is very encouraging.
Marianne McLean, Senior Policy Officer, National Archives of Canada
London, 12 July 2002 - Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries warmly welcomes the announcement today by Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State for the Arts, that the Historic Manuscripts Commission is to merge with the Public Record Office.
Matthew Evans, Resource chairman, said: "This is excellent news, not only for the archives sector, but for everyone who uses the rich resources they offer. Archives are the heart of our recorded heritage. The records they contain, from the Domesday Book to the present day, span an unbroken chain of over 1000 years of knowledge and information. They are our public and corporate memory, and provide an invaluable resource to those investigating their personal histories and roots and those seeking information about a huge range of human activity and experience. But the sector has not enjoyed a high public profile and has been seen by some as rather fragmented. This coming together of two leading organisations is a welcome move in unifying the sector, and in strengthening its voice sector, so that the nation's archives enjoy the recognition and popularity that they so clearly warrant. My Board and colleagues at Resource look forward to working in partnership with the new National Archives to secure a sustainable future for UK archives."
Today's announcement follows a request from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport earlier this month for Resource to set up an Archives Task Force. The Task Force, which will include high-profile archives users as well as leading policy-makers, professionals and academics, will throw a searchlight on archives, investigating current strengths and weaknesses and identifying ways of ensuring the nation's archives are better understood, better looked after, and better used. Membership of the Task Force will be announced later in July.