Tuesday, September 15, 2015

End of the 2015 season at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park!

The 2015 summer season at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park has been busy with school programs, tours, special events, weddings and Craft Thursdays.  

Our last event of the season, the Harvest Festival, took place Sunday September 13, 2015 on a windy September afternoon.  While rain threatened it held off and our visitors enjoyed music, hot buttered corn, face painting, balloon shapes, tours, a scavenger hunt and demonstrations by local quilters and weavers.   Oh, and of course…the farm animals brought in by 12 Acres Farm--sheep, chickens, goats and a duck!


Quilting demonstration

Hot buttered corn!

Grain elevator tours

Activity tents

Thank you to everyone who came out to the grain elevator site this summer to enjoy a food truck event, our Canada Day celebration, a wedding, a tour with family and friends, a craft day or the Harvest Festival.  We enjoyed showing you around the heritage site and look forward to seeing you again in 2016!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 5: The young and the archives

Outreach was a big topic at the conference.  Working in a museum, I’ve seen the efforts that our programming team puts towards outreach and I am always looking at ways to increase the archives profile in the programming area.

 Excellent case studies were presented where archivists actively went out to reach different audiences.

WWI letters from a Oshawa soldier becomes part of the curriculum
Particularly interesting were the efforts to reach a young, school audience, which may not be typically seen as a primary user group of archives. 
Jennifer Weymark of Oshawa Community Museum partnered with a local high school to incorporate archival materials into their curriculum to teach about World War I. The museum used a diary they had from a local WWI soldier, which became a focal point to teach about the war in school.

Students create their own portrait of a soldier

Rachel Beattie speaks on the Degrassi trivia night session

Another great outreach presented by Rachel Beattie at Media Commons of the University of Toronto. She developed a trivia night session based on their holdings on the tv show Degrassi. This reached out to a wide group of people interested in Canadian pop culture.  All of the presenters clearly illustrated that a lot of time and effort goes into outreach, but it is something that can result in some very positive exposure and use of the archives.

Good tips I learned
  •  Try not to hold your major events in the winter where cold nights could scare people away. 
  •  All archivists; brush up on your cursive writing skill or at the very least how to read cursive writing!  Many children are no longer being taught cursive writing and this leads to difficulty in reading older documents resulting in a lot of work transcribing documents in the archives.
It was another informative conference put together by the ACA. It was great to see some old friends and colleagues and see the progress archivists are making in their never ending efforts to bring awareness to the archives. I hope that readers will get a better sense of the archives are about and what we have to offer.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 4: Komagata Maru

Hi everyone, it’s the archivist Vino again sharing information about the ACA conference in Regina. 

Online exhibits from York University

Last time I blogged, I mentioned that social media is being widely used in order to promote and highlight archival collections and one effective method being utilized by archives are web exhibitions.  A great example is the web exhibit created by Simon Frasier University (SFU)  that used their archival holdings to tell the story of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 (http://komagatamarujourney.ca/).

   The Komagata Maru was a ship with migrants from British India, who came to Vancouver because they did not like their living conditions in India. They were  turned away by the Canadian government and not permitted to enter Canada and when they returned to India the passengers were persecuted.  
   SFU accomplished many things with this website. 

  • First, they were able to reframe traditional perspectives of this story by including Canadian Indian voices. 
  • Second, they provided access to a variety of materials, such as government papers, oral histories, personal archives, and interviews. 
  • Third they developed partnerships to produce the website, such as with the City of Vancouver Archives and the government of India. 

   The university was successful in utilizing many different types of records from different sources in order to bring light to this tragic Canadian story that is not well known.

Web exhibits provide a great way for an archive to highlight their holdings and to share stories that may not be well known.  

   The Musée Héritage Museum is planning to produce web exhibits and to use our holdings to tell different stories of the people, organizations and places in our community and region as well. 
   I will return with my last blog on outreach efforts taking place in archives. See you later!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 3: Entertain first, educate second

Hi everyone, this is the archivist Vino again, back with a blog on my experiences at the ACA conference in Regina.
   A major theme at the ACA conference this year was the use of social media going on in archives. This is an aspect of archives that I have been trying to broaden at our museum, and so it was interesting to see the various media that archivists are using. 
   Presenters showed examples of how they used their archival holdings on Flickr, Facebook, Tumbler, blogs, Twitter, and YouTube in order to bring more attention to the archives. 

The potential for archival materials that could be used on social media is endless

   It is clear that these tools are excellent means to promoting and bringing awareness to archives but the message that resonated with me, as discussed by Jeff O’Brien from the City of Saskatoon Archives, is that we should not forget older media forms. 
   He talked about his experience of building public awareness of the archives through traditional media forms, such as television, radio, and newspapers. Despite possible decline in viewership, traditional media is not dead yet and it already has a built in audience for archivists to reach. O’Brien also spoke highly of people’s want for stories and humour. 
   Jeff believes archivists should “entertain first, educate second” and I believe the point here is that once people come through the door, they will see the multitude of uses for the archives. 
   It is always a challenge to describe archives to the general public so O’Brien’s suggestion of drawing people to the archives makes a lot sense.

Jeff O'Brien, among panelists, speaking on social media and other forms to reach audiences
In my next blog, I will continue with this theme of using different tools to highlight archival collections by highlighting one particular example. See you later!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 2: National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

Hi everyone, this is the museum's archivist, Vino, continuing with my blogs on the sessions I attended at the 2015 ACA conference in Regina.

Ry Moran, director of the NCTR

One of highlights from the conference was a session with 
staff of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). 
The NCTR, located at the University of Manitoba, has a 
mandate of archiving as complete an historical record as possible of the Indian Residential School (IRS) system and legacy. 

The NCTR will be the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada (TRC).  

They are on their way to digitizing close to 4 million records and are concerned with making sure there is access to records while, at the same time, respecting the privacy of individuals. We were shown a preview of the website that they are about to launch that will host most of the digitized records. It really will leave a lasting legacy for those looking into the history of the IRS in Canada.

This was definitely one of the sessions I was looking forward to attending.  As the archivist at the Musée Héritage Museum I respond to research requests, relating to many of the Aboriginal families from St. Albert, and felt it was important to know more about the development and future plans of the NCTR as it evolves as a centre for housing this important information for Canada.

Preview of NCTR website that will host digitized records. Set to launch Fall 2015, nctr.minisisinc.com.

  St. Albert was home to two residential schools in the region, the Youville Convent on Mission Hill and the Edmonton Industrial School located near River Lot 56.
  I am sure that once the NCTR website is up and running, it will be a valuable source for researching the IRS system in St. Albert and across the country.

If you get the chance I would also recommend visiting the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation archives at the University of Manitoba. The staff at the NCTR are working hard to ensure that the building is a welcoming place for all people, especially Aboriginal People.

 I will be back with another blog on my experience at the ACA conference soon... Vino