Antwerp Heritage Volunteer Group


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Archiving the Negatives On Glass

January 2005 to June 2006

The City Archives of Antwerp moved location in July 2006 from its current site in the Venusstraat to the Felix Pakhuis. The new location is an old Warehouse in a prime location and the City is renovating it with modern public facilities and making it suitable to house the city archives.

The project is very well defined: we must clean the old photographs on glass plate, check the inventory, give new inventory numbers to each separate glass negative, wrap each individually in acid free paper and group them into acid free boxes. Many of those pictures have never been seen by the general public!

Volunteers sorting slides

On the 20th January the volunteers received a guided tour of the entire City Archives by our adviser and supervisor to be, Werner Pottier. Thereafter, we were presented to all the staff members by Mrs Inge Schoups, the "Stadsarchivaris". In the afternoon, after a very lively lunch break, Werner Pottier, together with a few staff members, took us to the Photography Museum in Antwerp. There, in a two hour training session, Ann Deckers explained and demonstrated important aspects of cleaning glass negatives.

We work on Thursday mornings and Gilberte Du Bois does the input of our work in the computer on Wednesday mornings.

Werner Pottier always prepares our work. Out of the 20,000 archive numbers he eliminates those that may be destroyed and he also prints out the old inventory of the glass negatives that we have to handle. In this way the work of the volunteers can be done in a very efficient way.

It is a pleasure to work in the archives. Werner is always there to help us out, the staff is extremely friendly and our work is very much appreciated. We all received a marvellous picture book on the Antwerp main square, the "Grote Markt", a book that is sold in the bookshop at the price of 75!

Our work at the city Archives is also giving ADFAS free publicity. Werner sent a press article to all the Antwerp newspapers and magazines about the work of the ADFAS volunteers. It was published in one of the main Antwerp newspapers. We have also been interviewed by a local radio station.

The city archives
This project ended in June 2006. Mrs Inge Schoups with all her team present, thanked the volunteers for the work done and handed them all a nice present. On August 18th all the volunteers were invited to the official opening of the new Felixarchives (Felixarchief). 
Later, on November 9th, Werner Pottier from the City Archives, asked the volunteers to participate in the try-out of the lecture room at the new Felix archives, which was a wonderful experience.