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What does the Black Country History website search?

Black Country History searches the computerised catalogues of the four Black Country record offices and the four Black Country arts and museums services simultaneously, displaying search results on one page.

Black Country History does not search all of the records held by each service but only what is currently available as online catalogue records.  However, these records are being added to all the time so it is always worth checking at a later date.

What information can I find on the website?

A search will display a results page listing the records in order of relevance.  The results page will display the basic catalogue record information and a thumbnail image where available.  The basic information may include the name of the item, relevant dates, brief description and the archive or museum service it his held by.

You can read the full catalogue record by clicking on the red record title.  This will display further details on the individual item including the unique Ref No for archive material and Object Number for museum objects, a detailed description, dimensions, production details and related terms where appropriate and available.  This page will also display further images where they exist.  Larger versions of image(s) can be viewed by clicking the Larger Image and magnifying glass link by the image.

Why is the information available sometimes incomplete?

The process of cataloguing our collections is ongoing and new records and improvements to the data available for existing records is continually being added.  If you identify an error during your search, we would be grateful if you would notify the revelant office so that we can investigate and correct the information as appropriate.

What if I cannot find what I am looking for?

To make photographs and archive material available for public use, it has to be listed and indexed by staff at each archive service. Before computers were widely used, card indexes were created to enable users to find what they were looking for. These indexes are still used at each archive service, but they are continually being added to computerised databases to enable quicker and easier searching. This process is ongoing and only a proportion of the archive services’ total holdings are currently available to view online. If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact the relevant office for more information.

How can I obtain a print or a high resolution electronic version of an image I have seen on this website?

Please contact the partner direct to enquire about prints and high resolution images.

Can I look at the original records / the actual museum objects?

If you find something of interest in the online catalogues, we encourage you to visit the relevant archive office where the original records are held and a full range of research facilities are available or contact the relevant museum or gallery where the objects are held where staff will be able to tell you if the object is on open display and if not how you can arrange a visit to see it in the museum stores. Each archive or museum service is open to the public most days of the week.   Contact the relevant office for more information.

Where can I find out more information about the history of the Black Country?

If you want to find out more about the history of the Black Country and surrounding area we suggest you have a look at the list of links on our Useful Links page.