This week we bid farewell to our Archivist, Laura (only for a year though!)

They say that every seven years we undergo significant changes in our lives, and that is certainly true for me today. After nearly 7 years of working at LHSA, I am taking a year’s leave, and moving to Munich where I’ll hopefully have the chance to work in the archives of Ludwig-Maximilian University; for those who can read German (and that doesn’t include me yet!), their website is at: Ludwig Maximilian University Archives. My first job will be to learn German in a month-long intensive course at the Goethe Institut, followed by lots of practising on the poor souls at the University Archives. My year abroad should broaden my perspective of archive management in the wider European context, and give me the chance to learn about a new collection.

Here are some of my highlights of the last seven years at LHSA!

2007: I started as Assistant Archivist on 2 April and was introduced to the joys of cataloguing including the papers of Helen Millar Lowe who helped maintain a female-only medical staff at the Bruntsfield and Elsie Inglis Hospitals in the 1950s.

A cartoon from Helen Millar Lowe's papers

2008: During the summer of 2008, we moved into our new accommodation as the Centre for Research Collections was born. Over 1,000 linear metres of LHSA collection items were moved into their current storage space.

2009: I started the volunteer programme at LHSA; our second volunteer, Louise, is now our Project Archivist! I also helped create posters telling the story of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in preparation for the bicentenary celebrations; the foundation stone of the Hospital was laid in 1809. You can see them here: Royal Edinburgh Hospital charter posters.

2010: We developed a social media presence for LHSA which included this blog and a Flickr page, shortly followed by our Facebook page. Oh, and our HIV/AIDS collections were added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register!

2011: I led oral history training sessions for students from the Edinburgh College of Art as part of the Unsung Heroes project. The oral testimonies of nurses are now part of the Archive informing our knowledge of twentieth century nursing lives.
Part of the Unsung Heroes exhibition
 2012: I had the privilege of becoming the LHSA Archivist and got to explore more of this wonderful collection as I helped choose exhibits for the Masterpieces III exhibition.
My lovely LHSA colleagues after our traditional Christmas curry, 2012

2013 was a packed year with the Royal Edinburgh Hospital bicentenary, Wellcome Trust bid writing (we got them!), and the opportunity to present talks on our social media to heritage sector colleagues in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dublin.

2014 has seen the start of our Wellcome Trust-funded HIV/AIDS project – great to see the fruition of all that bid-writing!
A postcard from our HIV/AIDS collections

Auf Wiedersehen bis 2015 (I really hope that’s right!)
My farewell cake, courtesy of master baker Louise