For many years, The Dartmoor Trust campaigned for a Dartmoor Archive. Initial plans were for a Dartmoor Research Centre to be established. However, with the increasing use and popularity of the internet, it became clear that a digital archive would provide better access for all those interested in learning more about Dartmoor.
In 2000, The Dartmoor Trust created two exhibitions: Dartmoor Century I and II. These displayed for the first time a selection of photographs taken from two major collections – The Taylor Collection and The Burnard Collection. The aim of the Dartmoor Century exhibitions was to emphasise the importance of collecting and conserving old photographs and, by comparing them to recent photographs of the same view, to highlight the changes that have taken place on Dartmoor. The photographs from the exhibitions were also published in two accompanying books.
As a result of these exhibitions, and the ideas of The Dartmoor Trust, the Dartmoor Archive was born. Now 15 years since it’s birth the Dartmoor Archive website has been updated, made more user friendly and interactive, and accessible on all today’s media.
After 2 year’s research and with the support of the National Park Authority, the Heritage Lottery Fund and local history groups, an exhibition of Dartmoor Life in the First World War was presented for 6 months, during which it had more than 50,000 visitors and received wide acclaim. The Exhibition is now being toured to parishes, schools and museums. An educational website has also been created for schools, that will be added to and form the basis of an archive of images and memories to commemorate Dartmoor rural communities’ involvement in the First World War.