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The CBA's Community Archaeology Resource
Heritage Toolkit: Make an A-Z

Great for young people!

The idea:

An A-Z Guide or Gazetteer is a written list of everything worth seeing or knowing about a place. Like a map, it represents an `official' view. Anyone who has ever read a tourist guide to their own area knows just how much it misses out. The A-Z is a great way to get people into exploring and recording their own place and its heritage.

Hull Marina
How to do it:

This is a relatively simple activity that can be done over a few hours with a group of people and without much cost or preparation:

Firstly, agree what the geographical area is that you are going to cover.

Next, collect a vast pile of glossy magazines, mainly the `lifestyle' type.

Get large sheets of paper, ideally in a form that can be put into a folder afterwards.

Put an alphabet letter at the top of each sheet.

Ask people to walk around the 26 sheets and write a word or two about their local area under every letter that they can think of. Try to get them to be as imaginative as possible. For example, the Victorian pub that has always served brilliant cheap lunches to working people under P; the Asian supermarket that is the best place for vegetables under V; the building that used to be a workhouse; the hardware shop that has everything you might want for about 50p and has been there for a hundred years. These are the things that only local people know about!

Some letters will have many more entries than others (X is always tricky!).

Next, ask people to find images in the magazines which illustrate their words. Don't worry if there aren't any to fit a particular word: get people to draw, collage or write to illustrate what they mean.

Bind the sheets together in a folder.

How to use the A-Z:

It can be used as a lighthearted way to start discussion about the local heritage of the area. It can also be used as the way to find other topics people want to follow up and research in depth, and as a way to get people involved in local heritage activity for the first time. An A-Z list is also very portable and user friendly: a great way to show others what the community regards as important.


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