Archive Record Officer

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is looking for an experienced and enthusiastic Archive Development officer to support the Engagement & Learning Team.

The Gardens are in a period of change and have recently secured a Round 1 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant towards a £13m capital project. The project aims to restore the historic glasshouses, upgrade site infrastructure and displays and improve the visitor experience for all.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) are keen to see applications from people of all backgrounds and communities and are committed to representing the diverse nature of the city. The Gardens look forward to receiving applications from all suitable candidates and will conduct inclusive recruitment processes based on attitude, experience, and qualifications. BBG are also committed to ensuring that no-one invited to interview should be excluded due to financial circumstances and will reimburse anyone attending interview (related costs must be supported by receipts) if required.

This post is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Garden’s Major Project.


Birmingham Botanical Gardens Opened in 1832, Birmingham Botanical Gardens (registered charity number 528981) is one of just two independent charitable botanical gardens in the UK.

Spread across 15 acres, just one mile from Birmingham City Centre, BBG consists of over 7,000 formally documented plants, making it the largest and most diverse botanic collection in central England.

BBG’s heritage is woven into Birmingham’s history – once the most important manufacturing town in the world – and the site welcomes over 180,000 visitors each year.

As well as the gardens, which are a green sanctuary within the city, the charity also provides a unique educational resource for learning about plants, conservation, and the environment. We welcome visits from nurseries, schools, and colleges, as well as organised groups, and run adult courses and workshops in photography, nature, wildlife, heritage, and culture.

As an independent charity, we rely on the support of visitors, supporters, donors, and grants, as well as generating income from our trading arm, hosting weddings and special events. This support ensures that we can deliver our key charitable objectives, maintaining our Victorian glasshouses and our 15-acres of wonderful gardens, and developing educational projects for the Birmingham community.

A diverse botanical world that enhances all our lives: our mission is to support plant biodiversity and an understanding of its importance to the natural environment through conservation, education, engagement, and enjoyment.


This is a new post needed to research, and make accessible core historical records, books, photographs, images and information about BBG’s plant collection and wider history. This important new post has been created to support BBG’s planned £13.8m major National Lottery Heritage Fund ‘Growing Our Green Heritage’ development project and is needed to support the Engagement & Learning Team and essential to BBG’s charitable purpose, objectives, and development.

The post has been created to ensure BBG’s Major development can utilise this information and make it accessible in all forms, including digital. Reporting to the Head of Engagement, the postholder will research original material, liaising with Birmingham City Records/Archives, to provide information to support the project initially in the Development and subject to successful funding in the Delivery phases, and prepare accessible archive resources. The postholder will be involved with public engagement activities and interpretation during the Development and later Delivery phases, such as an oral history memory project and will be responsible for the management of the library and will be expected to manage volunteers.

As one of Birmingham’s foremost heritage charities, essential records and publications dating back to 1829 need to be assessed, documented, and made accessible. The principal purpose is to research, sort, organise and document the current collection, rationalising storage, liaising with Birmingham Library who hold many original records, to ensure that important documents are held in perpetuity and that BBG has access to significant material to inform and support its education, interpretation, and wider charitable purposes.

The role has been created now to support the research and content development of the new Interpretation Strategy and increased participation and Learning programmes at BBG. The history of BBG has been identified as of great interest to both visitors and potential visitors and is a key theme in the gardens key messaging for the future. Currently largely inaccessible, the project will enable BBG to digitise core documents, photographs, and images for the project content, including exhibitions, on-line learning resources and activities for schools and students, for talks and future community projects. The work is expected to involve volunteers and create opportunities for a memory- capturing history project.

This is an opportunity for someone, passionate about historic Gardens and Birmingham heritage with archive or records management experience, to support the future development of BBG, making the unique history of BBG accessible, and engaging others in the process.


Job Summary/Key Responsibilities

  • Review the Botanical Garden’s library, archive and photographic collections and plan the appropriate organisation, documentation, dissemination, and access, including digitisation.
  • Liaise with Birmingham City Library/Archives and Records, where many original documents are located, to ensure key documents are accessible to support BBG’s major project development.
  • Responsible for the Garden’s photographic, library and archive collection, including organisation, cataloguing, storage, preservation, digitisation, reproductions, and dissemination.
  • Advise on arrangements/process for research requests and duplication requests for photographs, audio/visual materials, drawings, manuals, and other materials.
  • Provide arrangements for photos and other archival materials to support the implementation of the Gardens Interpretation Strategy, including publications, exhibits, website, events, talks and special functions and digital images.
  • Devise pilot, and later deliver a heritage memory project to capture memories of BBG for the future, engaging people in BBG’s major project development.
  • Provide information and support to the Horticultural Team, the Project Team, especially fundraising and marketing.
  • Manage volunteers contributing to the work outputs.NoteThe BBG Archives collection dates to 1829 and the formation of the Birmingham Horticultural Society, prior to the opening of the Botanical Gardens in 1832. It comprises some 12,000 items, including maps, plans, framed pictures, slides, prints, medals, and solid artefacts as well as documents. Some 4000 of the earlier documents are stored in the Local History and Heritage Department of the Library of Birmingham. The rest are located at BBG together with donations of photographs and other material from eminent botanists/local people useful to the Gardens.

    This job includes the following hazards or safety-critical activities:

  • Lone Working (infrequent)
  • Work in hot or cold environments

Contract Type: Part time (3 x days) 1 x year fixed term con- tract with opportunity to extend.

Salary: FTE salary £26,400 pro rata.

Please click here to download the PDF for further details and person specification. 

To apply: Please send your CV and covering letter to
Closing date: 16th June 2023