Gloucestershire Archives has been rewarded for its stellar performance with a maximum four star rating from The National Archives.
The service was placed seventh out of all local authority archive services in England and Wales - the same position as last year but with the overall score rising from 77.5% to 80%.
The assessment covers how the archives service is managed in Gloucestershire. It also looked at the documentation of collections at its headquarters off Alvin Street in Gloucester, access and outreach work, preservation and conservation, buildings, security and environment.
Highlights of the assessment included: -Excellent environmental conditions in the energy efficient strongrooms for Gloucestershire's unique and irreplaceable documents - Ground-breaking work on preserving electronic records for the future - Contributions to local communities, older people, children and young people, wellbeing, social inclusion and equality agendas Heather Forbes, head of Gloucestershire County Council's Archives, said: "I am delighted that the hard work of all members of the service has been rewarded with the highest possible rating in this National Archives assessment.
"We will now look to build on this impressive achievement by working with our customers, volunteers, partners and colleagues to continue offering an archives service the people of Gloucestershire can be proud of and improving it even further."
Gloucestershire Archives looks after around nine million documents, including books, records, photographs, slides and maps. Visitors have access to a search room, where archives staff can help them access the material they are looking for.
The service also reaches out into local communities, with family and house history courses and roadshows taking place throughout the year at libraries and museums all over the county. It runs fun learning events aimed specifically at children, walking tours to explore the county's history and heritage and specialist sessions focusing on topics such as engineering and medicine.
Lately, Gloucestershire Archives has linked up with Gloucester Rugby to embark on the ambitious Gloucester Rugby Community Heritage Project.
Cllr Ron Allen, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Archives, said: "One of the aims of the County Council's Gloucestershire Archives Service has always been to involve as many Gloucestershire people as possible in the evolution of the county's history.
"This top rating shows that they are achieving this ambition and much more. The work of the archives service is fascinating, and of direct relevance to a surprisingly large number of the county's residents through the history of their families and communities.
"Gloucestershire's heritage and history provide vital links with our collective past and are indicators of the future development of our communities. I would encourage people to go along to the archives headquarters or to one of the many community events - you will be amazed at how much there is to discover."
For more information on Gloucestershire Archives, including opening hours and community events, go to www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives
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