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 (
   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,

  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

Friday, August 7, 2015

The 2015 ACA Conference in Regina - Part 1: Murder in the Archives

Hi everyone, this is the Musée's archivist Vino and I thought I would write a series of blogs on some of the interesting sessions I attended during the Association of Canadian Archivists’ (ACA) 40th annual conference in Regina, SK held in June 2015. 

With the theme of “Perspectives on the Archival Horizon”, the conference looked at various topics such as, community archives, social justice, outreach, digital preservation, technology, social media, and changes within the archival profession through seminar sessions with panelists, poster presentations, case studies, exhibits, and keynote speakers. 

I am always excited to attend the conference so that I can see what my fellow colleagues in Canada and around the world are up to. And, it’s not just archivists, but I am also interested in hearing from individuals outside our realm, who are users and huge supporters of archives in general.
Conference delegates at the ACA conference in Regina. Getting ready to hear Gail Bowen.
  The conference began with opening speaker, Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn murder mysteries, which are set in Saskatchewan. Bowen, an avid user of archives, has her archival records and manuscripts held at the University of Regina Archives. This also inspired her to set a murder in the Archives in her novel, Burying Ariel (I'm going to be reading this real soon). Bowen spoke about her career and how she has come to rely on archives for her research. She also mentioned archivists should visit English classes and writing classes. The thought here is that if archivists get out to these places, then more writers will be aware of the archives for their research. It is often a challenge to get people aware of what an archives provides to people, so if archivists actively get out to different places then more people become aware of it. Archives is a place of research for all types of people, so this was a great suggestion from Bowen to increase our awareness.

Outreach is huge part of what the Musée Héritage Museum offers our community. And I found this aspect of the outreach archivist to be a driving point for almost all of the sessions I attended at the conference.  

I will blog again soon about more of the conference….Vino