The Archive preserves the papers of the original Mass Observation movement and current Mass Observation Project and makes them publicly available, as part of the University of Sussex's Special Collections at the The Keep.
The Archive is a Charitable Trust (registered charity number: 270218) in the care of the University of Sussex. Lord Asa Briggs who, as Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1970, was responsible for bringing the collection to Sussex and opening it up as a public resource for historical research.
The Archive values the importance of capturing and using records of everyday life. At the heart of its work is safeguarding these records for inspiring learning and research and ensuring they continue to be made available for future generations.
The Archive depends on money from outside the University for many of its special activities. It gains income from royalties from publications and makes applications to funding bodies. It also receives kind support from individuals through its Friends of the Archive scheme and legacies.
Research and teaching
The Archive is open to everybody provided they agree to abide by the access conditions at The Keep. We are pleased to offer group visits at The Keep for Higher Education, schools and community groups. Visit our learning pages to find out more.
Creating new collections
The Mass Observation Archive continues to gather documents about ‘everyday life’ in Britain through the Mass Observation Project. The Project was launched in 1981 and you can find out more about it here.
The Archive welcomes offers of donations of life story documents produced by people in accordance with the traditions of Mass Observation. Please visit our page about donating personal papers for more information.
Watch Simon Garfield, journalist, non-fiction author and Trustee of the Mass Observation Archive, talk about his use of the Mass Observation Archive.