History Day is a free annual event, produced by the Institute of Historical Research and Senate House Library, which brings together a wide range of libraries, museums, archives, and organisations with students, researchers, and anyone with an interest in history. The theme of History Day 2022 is ‘Human Discovery: Experiencing Science’. Alongside two live panel discussions, there are contributions from over 40 organisations, taking many different forms, including blog posts, videos, online exhibitions, and contributions to our ‘Everyday Technology Firsts’ Padlet. These shed light on a wide range of sources, which relate to our theme in many different ways. The contributions from all of these organisations are brought together in our Discover Collections gallery.

A screenshot of the History Day Discover Collections gallery

The organisations contributing to History Day 2022 have a variety of purposes and backgrounds. Bethlem Museum of the Mind preserves the history of the first specialist psychiatrist hospital in the United Kingdom, whose building it is situated in, whilst the John Rylands Research Institute and Library and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, to take just two examples, support active researchers and professionals in disciplines of humanities and sciences respectively.

Our contributors also range greatly in their location and the scope and scale of their focus, from the local (such as Headstone Manor in Harrow and the Teesside Archives), to the National Archives. Beyond this, the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA have shared a bibliography on Quakers and science, whilst Archives Portal Europe, who provide a single access point to search collections around the world, have posted a selection of items on our Padlet.

The collections that our contributing organisations hold represent a huge range of sources, which relate to different aspects of the history of science and technology, showing many varied ways of interpreting the theme ‘Experiencing Science’.  For example, our live panels focus on medicine and everyday technologies, topics which are also taken up by many of our contributors, such as Glenside Hospital Museum, the Royal College of Physicians Museum, and the Science Museum. In addition to this, our Discover Collections gallery also features contributions from the National Brewers Library at Oxford Brookes University Special Collections, the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, and the Zoological Society of London, highlighting the breadth of scientific disciplines represented in the collections of our contributors.

Finally, it is worth remembering that scientific and technological developments have themselves enabled this online event to take place, and facilitated access to many of these sources; contributors like the Bibliography of British and Irish History, Library Hub Discover, and Archives Hub provide the means to locate material from anywhere in the world. We thank all of our participating organisations for their varied and fascinating contributions, and look forward to sharing our Discover Collections gallery with you!