On 23 November, Senate House Library and the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) hosted History Day 2023. History Day is a free annual event bringing together students, researchers and anyone with an interest in history with collections professionals from galleries, libraries, archives, museums and research organisations. This year 64 organisations joined us to celebrate and explore library, museum, archive and history collections from across the UK and beyond. After being held online-only for the past few years, the event was held in-person on the ground and first floors of Senate House for the first time since 2019.

The event opened with a session on “Discovering Historical collections”, chaired by Neil Stewart, Head of IHR Library and Digital, and featuring panellists from The National Archives, Archives Portal Europe, Community Archives and Heritage Group and the IHR’s own Bibliography of British and Irish History. The recording of the session is available here.

After the session, attendees were invited to browse the History Day fair, where they were given the opportunity to connect and discuss their research ideas with information professionals showcasing their collections. Judging by the feedback, the event was a great success:

Everyone on our team enjoyed themselves and we had some great chats with researchers

– Florence Dall (Archives Officer, Queen Mary University of London).

We made a lot of contacts both with people from the Archives world and history researchers

– Phyllis Vangelder (Trustee of Archive of Market and Social Research and editor of its quarterly newsletter).


Stallholders at History Day were also given the chance to win a prize for the best History Day stand. The School of Advanced Study’s Digital Humanities Hub used their 3D printer ‘Robbie’ to create three trophies with a model of Senate House to give away to the lucky winners. Third place went to Cambridge University Museum, second place went to the Mass Observation Archive and the first place was awarded to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Archive team. (We suspect it was the cakes, which were based on original wartime recipes!) Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all of the staff who attended!

Although this year’s History Day is now over, you can still explore history collections across the country at the Discover Collections gallery, or by visiting the History Day 2023 playlist.

Next year History Day celebrates its 10th anniversary. Join the History Day mailing list to hear about future events.