To continue to celebrate the history of RUSI, the RUSI Archive has collected a number of wonderful photographs capturing not only the history of the Institute at 61, Whitehall, but also the development of the Museum and Library.
By Laura Dimmock-Jones, Librarian
Located in the stunning Banqueting House under the magnificent Ruben’s ceiling, the RUSI Museum housed some of the most important military exhibits of the nineteenth and twentieth century’s. This extraordinary Victorian museum was crammed to the gunwales with flags, ship models, bayonets and swords, guns and uniforms, not to mention skeletons and even stuffed pigeons!
Sadly disbanded in the 1960s, the collection was a huge attraction with visitors queuing down Whitehall for entrance This photograph captures the grandeur of this overcrowded space, dripping with flags and gleaming with silverware.
The Queen’s Coronation
Taken from the street outside the Banqueting House (then the RUSI Museum) on 15 June 1953, this photograph captures the spirit of the day. To celebrate the occasion, RUSI offered tickets to members and their families to view proceedings from the building and some of theirfaces can be seen looking on from the windows! . The RUSI sign at the entrance to the Museum is visible above the heads of the onlookers
Restoration of the RUSI Journal
First published in 1857, the RUSI Journal has been in huge demand ever since and unfortunately this constant use has taken something of a toll on the collection. In the early 1990s, however, funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund allowed the Librarian to implement some much needed conservation work, including rebinding the entire collection of RUSI Journals.. With many of the volumes including large foldout plates and maps of immense historical interest our complete collection of original journals is a major asset to researchers and members alike, and is thankfully saved use now and long in to the future.
Digitising the catalogue
In this photograph you can see the previous Librarian proudly making a demonstration of the new catalogue. Originally the Library Catalogue was printed in large bound volumes with individual entries pasted in under the author, title and subject. Later a card catalogue was produced and this was the main way of accessing the Library’s collections for many years. Eventually in the late 1990s the catalogue was digitised. Whilst this work is on-going we now have almost all of our collections accessible through our online catalogue.
The RUSI collection of photographs has now been fully catalogued. You can view the catalogue records for this collection through our OPAC.
If you are interested in the history of RUSI and would like to visit our collection please do contact the Librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org.