Opening up the University archives for Heritage Open Days on 19/20 September

As part of Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture, the University of Leicester is opening its archives up to the public with a series of free events on Thursday 19 September and Friday 20 September.

All events are free but places are limited so booking is essential. For more information on these events, including links to Eventbrite for booking, please visit

A Century of Sound: Oral History Archives and Unlocking Our Sound Heritage

Thursday 10.00am-11.00am, Friday 1.00pm-2.00pm

Join the East Midlands Oral History Archive (EMOHA) on a journey through the history of recorded sound: from the earliest means of recording the human voice to today’s digital technology. Learn about how we preserve old analogue recordings in new digital formats. Listen to voices from the archives, from the distant and crackling voices of great and good Victorians to contemporary oral history recordings that capture Leicestershire’s rich and diverse heritage.

Geology: ‘More than Jane’

Thursday 10.00am-11.00am, Friday 2.30pm-3.30pm

A behind-the-scenes, in-store talk viewing the vast geological collection of the University of Leicester. An opportunity to view the main geology store, where few staff or students are allowed, which holds specimens of worldwide interest. Meet the curator who will share how the collection is used.

Herbarium: ‘Preserving Plants’

Thursday 11.30am-12.30pm, Friday 11.30am-12.30pm

Find out how the University’s superb collection of pressed plants has been built up and how it is used to support scientific research and teaching. See how specimens are prepared for archiving. Learn about the vast store of information contained with each specimen and how this can be used to study a range of things from evolutionary relationships and chemical constituents to changes in distribution patterns and flowering times driven by climate change. Find out about the role of the herbarium in saving Leicestershire & Rutland’s rare and endangered plant species, and look inside our very own local genebank.

Library Treasures

Thursday 1.00pm-2.00pm, Friday 11.30am-12.30pm

The University of Leicester's Archives and Special Collections comprise rich collections of rare books, manuscripts and archives. This event will give visitors the opportunity to see some of the highlights of the collections including a 15th century Bible used for the re-interment of Richard III, rare manuscripts from India and Africa, a Shakespeare Folio, and original material from the Orton and Townsend collections. There will also be a chance to see behind the scenes into areas not usually accessible to the public.

An introduction to the University Art Collection

Thursday 2.30pm-4.00pm, Friday 10.00am-11.30am

Starting at the Attenborough Arts Centre we will explore the current exhibition, Awkward Beauty, by renowned British painter Lucy Jones. The exhibition explores her interest in the landscape and the self. The exhibition includes a new portrait of Grayson Perry commissioned by the Attenborough Arts Centre which is now a feature of the University Art Collection. From here we will explore several of the University of Leicester’s key art works on campus.

Deadly dangerous objects from around the world

Friday 10.00am-11.00am, Friday 2.30pm-3.30pm

Ancient swords, a terrifying-looking throwing knife and a blackbird riddled with highly poisonous mercury – just a few of the more deadly objects to be found in the collections of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. Why do we have these (and many other curious objects including a miners pistol and a unicorn horn) and for what do we use them? Visit us to see how objects ranging from bees to buses should be handled, labelled, packed, displayed and stored, without hurting them, or yourself.