In mid-May members of NADFAS, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, began work on two different volunteering projects in the Conservation Department of Glamorgan Archives. These projects take place on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, with each session involving of a group of five volunteers.
Each group is working on a different project. The Tuesday morning volunteers are working on cleaning and repackaging some of the tithe maps and apportionments held at Glamorgan Archives. The cleaning work is undertaken using dry cleaning sponges and vinyl erasers, taking great care not remove any annotations to the maps, particularly those made in pencil. This work can sometimes be very dirty; in these cases it’s easy to see the effect of the work on the map. But sometimes it can appear that the work being done is making very little difference to the overall condition of the map. In many cases this is because previous repairs dating from the 1940s and 1950s have been carried out and much of the dirt has now become ingrained in the map. We are very fortunate that this does not seem to dishearten our volunteers at all and they are making good headway into cleaning the tithe maps.
The second project involves the cleaning, re-organisation and listing of ship crew agreement lists for the census years, starting at 1901. It is first necessary for volunteers to clean each individual crew agreement using a dry cleaning sponge. These sponges, also known as smoke sponges, pick up much of the dirt and hold it within them. Once they have cleaned the crew agreements they are re-organised using the official ships numbers. They can then begin the process of listing the names of all of those people who appear on the agreements, along with the information about them. This information will eventually be made available online.