Unlock the Past: Promoting History, Genealogy and Heritage in Australia and New Zealand

By Hicks, Shauna | Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Unlock the Past: Promoting History, Genealogy and Heritage in Australia and New Zealand


Hicks, Shauna, Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services


Established in August 2009 Unlock The Past (UTP) is a collaborative venture involving authors, presenters, archives, libraries, historical societies, genealogy and family history societies and commercial companies and individuals in a broad range of activities which all revolve around history, genealogy and heritage in Australia and New Zealand. This paper outlines how UTP can assist archives and libraries with their own objectives in reaching out to stakeholders and client groups, especially genealogists and local and family historians. Edited paper presented at the conference A sense of place: local studies in Australia and New Zealand Sydney 5-6 May 2011.

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Unlock the Past (UTP) www.unlockthe past.com.au is a collaborative venture between a range of organisations and individuals to promote all history, heritage and genealogy interests across Australia and New Zealand. It was established in 2009. Individuals (both writers and presenters), genealogy and family history societies, libraries, archives, historical societies, commercial businesses large and small, individuals and sponsors all come together in a range of activities including family history expos, national and regional roadshows, genealogy cruises, seminars and publications to highlight what is happening in history, genealogy and heritage across both countries.

This all embracing aspect of UTP is evident in the online and handbook directories, the varied contributions to the handbook, and the wide variety of exhibitors at expos and roadshows. Essentially the primary aims of UTP are to

* take family history expertise to regional areas as well as capital cities

* develop a team of presenters throughout Australia and New Zealand

* support family history and genealogy societies by assisting with speakers, marketing, sponsorship, promotion, advice and so on

* publish research guides and other resources.

What does Unlock The Past do?

There are six main areas that UTP is active in and which complement what societies, archives, libraries and commercial businesses are currently doing. It is within these areas that cultural organisations or individuals can also participate. These are as

* an events resource--supporting existing events plus running UTP's own events

* a publishing brand with a series of new, affordable research guide books

* a place to go for resources and free content on the UTP website

* an effective marketing platform for sponsors, libraries, archives, societies

* support and promotion for heritage tourism

* an active social media proponent.

How can cultural organisations collaborate With UTP?

Looking at those six areas, I will outline how archives, libraries and other cultural organisations can benefit from a collaborative association with UTP.

Events resource

Archives and libraries can participate in national or regional history and genealogy roadshows or expos as either a speaker or exhibitor or both. This is a great way to address and meet both experienced researchers and at the same time attract new researchers to your organisation. If you cannot attend a roadshow or expo in person, it is also possible to have an insert in the event showbag.

The general policy is to charge libraries/archives/societies a modest fee ($50$100) for trade tables, and to offer those who speak a speaker fee as an expense contribution, but a no fee, no charge arrangement is also possible.

Inserts in the registration kit for exhibitors are usually free, but there may be a modest handling charge if an exhibitor is not attending or actively publicising the event. For more information see the bottom of the exhibitor page for the Coifs Harbour expo for details www.unlockthepast.com.au/events/nsw-expocoffs-harbour/exhibitors.

One of the main advantages of participating in a UTP event is that UTP can bring a great deal of publicity outside of the usual audiences organisations reach, and therefore the fee is very cost effective marketing. …

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