Archive Explorers

The Local Studies Library & Archive is running a 5-day summer course for 9 to 14 year-olds from Richmond upon Thames to explore the heritage of their local area using archives.

Book your place

About Archive Explorers

Archives carry the stories of human lives from the past into the present, and beyond to the distant future. Join the Archive Explorers and become a detective, hunting for clues to uncover the secrets of past people, and bringing them to life through a range of fun activities.

Whether you love history, art, digital technology, or telling stories, there’s a role for you in the Archive Explorers!

See a summary of each session in our course timetable.

Booking is essential. We recommend coming to all 5 days, as the sessions may feed into each other. However, you can chose to come to as few or as many of the sessions as you are able.

Course timetable
Date Session Booking
Day 1: Tuesday 26 July

Welcome to the world of archives

Richmond upon Thames Local Studies Library & Archive holds documents dating from 1489 to 2016. These documents tell the stories of the lives of people like you, who have lived in the local area. You’ll get the chance to handle some of these amazing original documents and see if you can unlock their secrets.

Book online

Discover the history of your house

When was your house built?  Who has lived in it?  What stories do they have to tell? These are the sorts of mysteries you might be able to solve using our collection of maps, plans, directories, and census records.

Day 2: Wednesday 27 July

Human lives in the archives

People’s personal records, such as letters, diaries, and photo albums, provide a window into their lives, hopes, fears, and dreams. In this session you’ll encounter the personal records of people from across the Borough, and you’ll use your imagination to fill a gap in their story.

Book online
Day 3: Thursday 28 July

Glimpses of parallel universes

Our archives contain many plans for buildings that were never built, wartime invasion preparations that were thankfully never tested, and ideas for futures that never came to be. They provide a glimpse into what Richmond upon Thames might be like in a parallel universe.  

Book online
Day 4: Friday 29 July

The digital frontier

Physical documents can survive for thousands of years. But can digital documents survive as long? If not, how will people in the future be able to know about us and our time? How can we make sure digital records survive? In this session, you’ll create a digital time capsule, to be opened in 2116, to tell people in the future what life is like today.

Book online
Day 5: Saturday 30 July

‘The Play’s the Thing!’

The Borough has been home to many theatres and theatrical people. We hold many records relating to the writing and performing of plays, including posters, photos, programmes, and play drafts. As a group, you’ll write and perform a play using our theatre collections for inspiration, and anything else you’ve discovered in the archives.

Book online


For more information, please contact us at, or phone 020 8734 3309.

Updated: 30 March 2016