Introducing the new Head of Archive and Library

My first few weeks have been busy and memorable - I will never forget my first week at the museum in mid-February when we had a series of foggy mornings. Seeing the Queen's House loom out of the fog, with the silvered frosty grass shimmering around it was a magical moment and took my breath away. I hadn't appreciated the location and setting of the museum, it truly is a beautiful place to work.I am very excited to have joined the Archive & Library team, particularly with the news of Sammy Ofer's generous gift for the Museum's redevelopment, and the plans to create an enhanced Archive & Library Research Centre. I am enjoying learning about the Library's world-class collections, and getting to know the enthusiastic and dedicated staff that manage them. I have been struck by the comparisons with the RIBA Library where I used to work (also a 1930s library interior but in a modernist style), and in the connections between the collections. My colleagues at the RIBA chose an image of William Kent's design for the royal barge from the RIBA's collections as my leaving party invitation, and I am reminded of the drawing every time I walk past the barge itself in the Museum. D9523_3_sml.jpgThe Royal Barge passing London Bridge on her last journey afloat, carrying Prince Albert and two
of his children to the Royal opening of the new Coal Exchange.I have also had a chance to visit other parts of the Museum's collections - the ship plans were fascinating when comparing them to the architectural drawings I worked with at the RIBA - although there are lots of similarities in the types of drawings produced, the ship plans win it hands down for their size.I am looking forward to researching some aspect of the Archive & Library's collections properly, and to working on the ever-present issues of space, cataloguing, acquisitions, conservation and access.Eleanor Gawne (Head of Archive & Library)