I Am Archive

A visitor experiencing our new archive

‘I Am Archive’, an imaginative and stimulating experience showcasing stories from Croome’s extensive historic records in imaginative ways. Visitors can search through archive boxes aiming to share some of Croome’s fascinating stories – they may even come across a prosthetic ear and eye ball!

Archives are often considered the domain of the historian, researcher, with overtones of reading rooms, online catalogues and stores tucked well away from public view. Not everyone wants to be a researcher, but there is a growing appreciation of how important archival material is – we all create our own archive and a trail in life, whether we like it or not.  

Adding the finishing touches to I Am Archive
peter young putting thr final touches to I am archive
Adding the finishing touches to I Am Archive

The new archive room project is not about recreating the Croome archive or even providing access to all of it, as the archive is carefully looked after at The Hive in Worcester. Instead, Croome seeks to create an imaginative and stimulating experience for visitors to explore what archives are all about, why Croome’s archive is so important and to help visitors reflect on their own archive in life.

" I Am Archive is a playful installation which we hope will inspire our visitors whilst we celebrate the stories from Croome's archive. It is through Croome's archive that we have been able to learn about the living, breathing people who have shaped its history. "
- Clare Harris

Over the course of researching Croome’s history many fascinating items have come to light such as an 18th lottery ticket, a remedy on how to cure human worms, love letters and letters that reveal turmoil and scandal.

One of the many stories chosen for visitors to discover includes is a prosthetic severed ear which is nailed to a piece of wood.  It represents the time when Lord Thomas Coventry held the position of the Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England and was publicly slandered and accused of taking bribes. The men involved were punished for two days by being paraded through the streets on a horse backwards, before having their ears nailed to a pillory in public and then condemned to remain in prison for the rest of their lives.

Lily and William Marshall looking at an archive box
Lily and William Marshall looking at an archive box
Lily and William Marshall looking at an archive box

The design, which can be seen on the first floor of the house, has been created by ERM, the winners of our 2016 Design Competition who have creatively merged the worlds of installation art, sculpture, architecture into this exciting design. Led by architect and stage designer's;  Elena Thatcher, Ruth Hall and Max Jones. 

Learn more about ERM by visiting their website.

" “From the outset we looked to challenge the ‘dusty’ preconception of archives. Our design is conceived as a living breathing installation that emerges from Croome’s walls to expose the illuminated archive within. "
- I Am Archive team

This contemporary sculptural form references traditional archive storage and shelving, and provides a flexible and interactive display, whilst also offering a vision of archive that creates a bridge between old and new. At its center visitors will experience an immersive infinity effect, which emphasizes the extent of the knowledge vein running through the heart of Croome and offers a moment to wonder at the scale and value of archives; past, present and future.”

Read more about how this project developed into the exhibit you see today.