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Archive vault open for rare glimpse inside

Delve into the past with a rare opportunity to go ‘behind the scenes’ in the Brunel Institute next to Brunel’s ss Great Britain.

As part of Bristol’s Open Doors Day, the Archive Vault, which is usually sealed off to the members of the public, will be open for the first time for guided tours on Saturday (September 10).  

Members of the public are invited to join a 30 minute tour of the Conservation Suite and Archive Vault, home to the Trust’s 67,000 objects in its collection.  The tour will also give members of the public a chance to learn more about the important conservation work that is carried out each day, in order to preserve this internationally significant collection.

The ss Great Britain Trust collection is already available for the public to see on demand in the Brunel Institute.  However visitors are not normally given access to the Vault itself and the Conservation Suite.

Tours will be running on Saturday at 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm and will last for approximately 30 minutes.

Numbers are limited to 15 per tour, and spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

The David MacGregor Library within the Brunel Institute will also be open this Saturday to the general public for those who may want to see a specific object from the collection.  Visitors to the Institute who wish to see objects from the collection should contact the Curator of Library & Archive directly, on 0117 926 0680 and are asked to bring identification with them.

Some of the most exciting objects in the Trust’s collection include passenger diaries and letters, the University of Bristol’s Brunel collection, which includes Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s drawing instruments, his diaries, and photographs of the Clifton Suspension Bridge during its early build.