Many Sussex students are not aware of what The Keep is, despite it being quite literally on our doorstep. The only awareness some students have of this facility is hearing the bus announcement say ‘alight here for The Keep’ upon arriving at the Brighton Academy bus stop.
With it being so beneficial to students studying, especially those doing humanities subjects, it is important for all students to know about The Keep and how it can improve your studies.
The Keep is an archive and historical resource centre that stores documents from the East Sussex Record Office, The Royal Pavillion & Museums Local History Collections and the University of Sussex Special Collections, dating back over 900 years. Preserving documents that are hundreds of years old from all of these collections, it gives students a multi-media archive of information readily accessible to use.
The University of Sussex Special Collections are something of particular interest to a lot of students, with this collection holding 20th and 21st century literary archives, commenting on our social and political situation across the last century. Similarly, with this direct connection between the University and The Keep, it gives students a chance to learn more about the University of Sussex’s recent literary endeavours.
As well as keeping historical, educational documents, they also have archives of old issues of The Badger, meaning current students can access older versions of the newspaper and look at its development over time, particularly useful for any aspiring journalists. These readily accessible forms of news are also useful when researching or studying East Sussex’s history, as it provides you with the main stories from across the decades.
The Keep does not only store written archives, but also conserves maps, plans, drawings, photographs and other electronic records. This organisation is so useful for anyone trying to come up with a unique angle on an essay, with so many original and unique documents that will show you have gone above and beyond on researching for your topic of choice.
Although there is free public access to all of the collections, The Keep is especially useful for scholars, researchers, architects and developers, assisting anyone with a desire to learn.
The Keep is useful further than its available documents however, as they host a drop-in service and provide space for people to study and work, which is separate from the document storage rooms. This gives people a chance to both look through the archives and use the space to read or simply as a quiet space to study in. There are numerous rooms and opportunities to record, study and read, ensuring that everyone is able to come into The Keep and leave feeling like they have learnt more and achieved their goals.
Similarly, The Keep hosts lectures, events, workshops, outreach projects and school classes, making sure their organisation is community focused. They also allow volunteers and students to work alongside the staff to learn how to preserve the archives, an interesting opportunity to learn how a historical institution is sustained.
With staff always making themselves available for anyone who wants to explore the archives, they can show you any documents you might find useful in the facility. If you wanted to view all the documents from a specific period, or everything written about a specific idea, the staff can tell you exactly what documents they have relating to this and exactly where you can find them. The staff make the organisation all the more beneficial, ensuring that you do not feel lost or confused amidst the masses of archives available.
As one of the unique historical organisations in Sussex, The Keep is able to provide students with unique tools for essays and assignments, giving you a practical opportunity to further your studies and learn about Sussex’s history.
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