Milton Keynes Archives

The Milton Keynes Archives partnership brings you access to internationally significant archives, local history resources and specialist library services.
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Following extensive planning and scoping work, Milton Keynes Council with Bucks CC, MK City Discovery Centre and Living Archive are exploring the potential of creating a City Archive for Milton Keynes. 

Partner organisations work together under the ‘MK Archives’ banner. They bring together the full archival story of the building of Milton Keynes by accessing official and personal papers, photographs, film, video and oral histories. Together they chart the social history of the pioneers, citizens and newcomers to Milton Keynes that have made it their home.

An innovative new two-year pilot archive service is being finalised for summer 2020 at Central Library. This will trial an integrated archives and library service to cover archives, local studies, reference, events, exhibitions, outreach and activity. The co-created programme will offer old and new activities for all audiences. 

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Buckinghamshire Archives

Buckinghamshire Archives Logo

Buckinghamshire Archives is the County Archives and Local Studies Library for the historic county of Buckinghamshire.

They offer a range of resources to support research in family, local and house history in the county. They acquire and preserve archive and research materials relating to the historic county of Buckinghamshire. They also help present and future generations by promoting the use and enjoyment of materials for cultural, educational, recreational and administrative needs.

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Living Archive MK

Living Archive MK Logo

Collecting and sharing the stories of our city and our rich heritage. 

Living Archive collects, preserves and shares the history and heritage of Milton Keynes. Living Archive was conceived as an antidote to the assertion that ‘new towns have no history’. It was nurtured by the belief that ‘everybody has a story to tell’. It has recorded, archived and celebrated the unique history of residents’ lives and sense of place. 

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Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre

MK City Discovery Centre Logo

Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre informs visitors about urban geography and new city planning - as well as the historical and natural heritage of Milton Keynes.

The archive records the fascinating story of the development of the new city of Milton Keynes, and also a wealth of pre- new town history. Many important items have been preserved in our collections - books, photographs, maps, reports, posters, plans and periodicals. 

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Milton Keynes Council

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Milton Keynes Council and Buckinghamshire County Council jointly look after the historic and new town archives of Milton Keynes through a Joint Arrangement, with the collections based at the Buckinghamshire Archives in Aylesbury.

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Milton Keynes Libraries

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The nine Milton Keynes Libraries provide an open door to anyone seeking information, books, access to IT facilities or a space to study and meet.

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MK Archives is proud to bring you a selection of collaborative events and activities to showcase the local history and heritage of Milton Keynes.


New Town Heritage Explorers NTHE Logo

We'll also be launching the New Town Heritage Explorers Project on the evening. It's an exciting design and heritage project which develops a New Town Heritage toolkit and brings the city’s design heritage to life with an innovative creative programme.

The project explores and documents the social history of MK – the stories of the people who live here, the effect of the buildings on daily life and what it's really like to live in a city built from scratch.

This is a Heritage Fund funded project - with thanks to National Lottery Players, Milton Keynes Council and Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre - and pilots a new public-led way of capturing, recognising, profiling and celebrating our New Town heritage character.

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Photo of Lena Barnes, Dance Teacher in Milton Keynes

23 January - 28 March 2020

We hope you'll visit this exhibition at the top of the stairs in Central Library and read about the untold and mistold stories of important leaders within the Milton Keynes community. 

The exhibition is part of the New Town Heritage Explorers project and aims to highlight and celebrate the stories of Black people who have invested in the social architecture of the city.

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23 January - 28 March 2020

Photo of young boy building a structure for the No Corners Here project

You'll find the 'No Corners Here' exhibition in the Event Space on the ground floor at Central Library.

New Town Heritage Explorers teamed up with Global Outreach Foundation to develop a project on the built environment and how it relates to identity and a sense of self for modern day citizens of Milton Keynes.

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> Discover MK Showcase

Photo of Discover MK exhibition area at Central Library

Discover Milton Keynes is the primary showcase in the Central Library for the archive, museum and heritage of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area. It has a regular changing series of exhibitions throughout the year more of which can be found on the Discover MK website. 

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> Lunchtime Lectures

We're thrilled to announce the return of the MK Archives 'Lunchtime Lectures' at Central Library. After last year's successful series, they have returned for the summer and autumn. You're invited to bring your lunch and join us while you discover something new. (These lectures are adult events).

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> Explore Your Archive - November/December

The Explore Your Archive campaign showcases the best of archives and archive services in the UK and Ireland. The campaign aims to open the phenomenal archival collections held by organisations – public and private – across the UK and Ireland, whatever their size and scale, and wherever they are.

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> Exhibitions

MK Archives works with Milton Keynes Libraries on supporting exhibitions about the history of Milton Keynes and the surrounding area in The Event Space at Central Library and other locations.

See the New Town Heritage Explorers Project section for current exhibitions.

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MK Archives Page Bar with Logos of partner associations

Last Updated: 14 January 2021