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Leuven Archive invites children to make almanacs for 2021
The City Archive in Leuven has invited children to put together personal almanacs for 2021, to accompany an exhibition opening in January. The idea is to reflect the way people in centuries past personalised their journals, adding notes in the margins or using them as a safe place to keep letters, news clippings and other papers.
The Leuven City Archive has more than 200 printed almanacs in its collection. Each is built around a calendar of the year to come, with astronomical observations and predictions, church holidays and other practical information.
“The oldest is from 1716, and was printed in the Gulde Lampe house in Muntstraat,” explained Denise Vandevoort, city councillor responsible for culture. “The most recent almanac dates from the 1930s, and was published by the city. It can be seen as a forerunner of the current Leuven Yearbook.” The city’s Yearbook is a guide for residents featuring information about local services, administration and leisure activities.
Some of the almanacs are small enough to slip into a pocket, others are large tomes full of lavish illustrations. Most are serious, but some contain jokes, funny stories, riddles and songs.
The exhibition, at the City Archive reading room from 14 January to 28 February, will feature a selection of the most interesting almanacs in the collection. It will be accompanied by a book describing the content of the almanacs, and telling stories about the printers who made them, the traders who sold them and some of their owners.
The Archive is also inviting children to put together their own almanacs for 2021 and to send in pictures to show what they have produced. The best will appear alongside the almanacs in the exhibition.
A DIY almanac workshop has been put together to help, with a 40-minute video and templates that can be downloaded to help the process along.