This week is Explore Your Archive Week and archives across the UK will be taking part to #explorearchives and talk about the different collections we all hold.




1. We're a museum and an archive
We collect all sorts of material relating to children's books. Our collection includes drafts, correspondence, illustrations, dummy books and everything that goes into making a children's book. We also have objects - the odd cuddly toy, typewriter and model boat.  We have shell wombles too(!)


2. Seven Stories Collection is made up of over 140 archive collections. 


photograph by Damien Wooton
We started collecting in the mid-1990s and since then our Collection has grown at a phenomenal rate. We now hold over 1800 boxes of archives (housed across 300 metres of shelving). Last year we were awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures grant to expand our Collection further.





3. We hold original material by over 250 artists and authors.  






That’s roughly 135 authors, 123 illustrators, 5 critics, 4 editors and 2 playwrightsAs we continue to acquire and catalogue new collections these numbers continue to grow. Have a look at the list of people represented in our collections (the list is constantly growing).


4. Our archive features work by many significant and household names 
Familiar names in our Collection include Enid Blyton, Philip Pullman, Robert Westall, Judith Kerr, Edward Ardizzone and Kaye Webb.
5. Our newest collection is Michael Morpurgo's
Last month we announced the arrival of Michael Morpurgo's collection.  Earlier this year, our Collections Director, Sarah, and Archivist, Kris, went on a trip to Michael's house in Devon to collect boxes and boxes of his work. 
6. Our first major acquisition arrived in 1997
Kaye Webb's collection consists of 55 archive boxes and 11 oversize boxes.  This collection is very well used and items have been used in many of our exhibitions.  Kaye Webb is a hugely important figure in British children's literature; in 1961 Webb became editor of Puffin Books and in 1967 she created the Puffin Club.
7. Our library is HUGE
photograph by Damien Wooton
Another way in which we can help to tell the story of Children’s books is through our incredible library. We hold around 35,000 books and as our archive collection grows so does the book collection.  We have early, rare, signed and first edition children's books.  We even have books annotated by the authors. 

8. We're interested in the whole process
  From the very first notes to the fan mail we like to document the entire process of the creation of children's books.
9. We're the home of British children's literature

There are quite a few institutions around the world that collect children's literature archives but our collection is the most substantial archive of 20th Century British children's literature anywhere.
10. Our Collection is unique
We are the only institution in the world with a collecting policy dedicated to modern and contemporary British children's literature.
11. The first book about our Collections was published this year

Written by our Collection Director, Sarah Lawrence, Drawn from the Archive was published earlier this year. The book gives a behind-the-scenes look at sketches, storyboards, drafts and redrafts from some of the illustrators represented in our collections including Edward Ardizzone, Judith Kerr, Nick Sharratt and Polly Dunbar. 


12.  We don't like our collections to collect dust

We like to use them. Our expert team includes curators, librarian, archivist, researchers and touring coordinator.  We use the Seven Stories collection to create many of our exhibitions, to tour them, to provide research access, to blog, and to work with our other departments to create fantastic learning programmes.

13. We keep a Visitor's book





We welcome many authors and illustrators to our Collections so we keep a very interesting Visitor's book.  Our latest visitor was Jim Kay!

14.  We're taking over this week's social media

Join us on Twitterand Instagram using the handle @7stories and on Facebook by searching for 'Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books' to #explorearchives with us.