Examine Brunel artefacts in your lunch break

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The Independent Culture

If you work in Bristol and you find yourself looking for something to do on a Tuesday or Wednesday lunchtime you can now pop into the new Brunel Institute, next to the ss Great Britain, and see rare photographs and diaries normally kept under wraps in the National Brunel Archive explained by experts from the museum.

Curators will select one object from the 45,000 items housed in the archive for each of the ‘Archive in Five’ series of events (Tuesdays at 12.30pm, Wednesdays at 2pm and the first two Saturdays of the month at 1pm), and will give a tutorial about it in the time it takes to nibble on lunchtime sandwiches.

The one hour time limit is in place to ensure that no long term damage is made to the artefacts.

Previously members of the general public could only gain access to the collection by phoning 24 hours in advance and providing formal identification. Neither of these will be necessary for visitors to the ‘Archive in Five’ series.

“This will be an ideal opportunity for anyone to have a quick peak in their lunch break, or during a visit to Brunel’s ss Great Britain, of some of the treasures within the collection,” curator Eleni Papavasileiou said.

“These might include anything from a Brunel diary or stereoscopic photographs to passenger letters or some of our latest acquisitions. The curatorial team will select objects at random to inject an element of surprise. Some of the very delicate objects will not be included as we would not want to risk damaging them.”

The ‘Archive in Five’ sessions will continue indefinitely