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The Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Public Library are joining forces as part of Archive Awareness Month to provide guided tours and an exhibition of some of the fascinating archival material held in the libraries of the two institutions. The tours and exhibitions are intended for the general public and are provided free of charge. The two exhibitions can be viewed from Monday 15th to Thursday 18th September, at 10:30 and 14:30 in the Armagh Public Library and at 11:30 and 15:30 in the Armagh Observatory. Archive Awareness Month is a month-long UK-and-Ireland initiative to celebrate and promote the amazing wealth of historical evidence contained within archives and to showcase that wealth to a wider audience.

The Armagh Public Library and the Armagh Observatory were founded by Archbishop Richard Robinson, in 1771 and 1790 respectively, and played a key role in his plans to establish a University of Armagh and so improve the City. Inscriptions on the walls of the two institutions perhaps provide an insight into the Archbishop's motivation for their establishment. On the Observatory is "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God", while on the Library we read (in Greek): "The Healing Place for the Soul".

The exhibitions highlight the Archbishop's contribution to the cultural heritage of the City of Armagh and present some of the fascinating manuscripts, scientific papers and other historic material held by the two institutions. Each body was originally incorporated by an Act of the Irish Parliament: "An Act for Settling and Preserving the Public Library in Armagh For Ever", and "An Act for Settling and Preserving a Public Observatory and Museum in the City of Armagh For Ever". The two institutions have subsequently made a strong and distinctive contribution to the history and development of the City.

The month-long celebration of archives throughout the UK and Ireland is intended to broaden the base of users of archive material amongst the general public, and to encourage new users, particularly young people and from under-represented groups. It will enhance public understanding of the value of historical archives as a tool to explore our past, and raise the profile of the library and archive profession by increasing public understanding of the historical significance of these often hidden treasures.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Bailey or John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, Tel.: 028-3752-2928; FAX: 028-3752-7174; e-mail: meb@arm.ac.uk or jmf@arm.ac.uk; and Carol Conlin at the Armagh Public Library, Tel.: 028-3752-3142, FAX: 028-3752-4177; e-mail: armroblib@aol.com.

See also:
Armagh Observatory Archives
Pictures from the Archives
Rare and Antiquarian Book Collection
Historical Instruments

Last Revised: 2003 August 29th
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