Now Hiring: Archivist

South Peace Regional Archives is seeking an Archivist for a full-time, permanent position tentatively beginning 1 June 2020. The Archivist oversees the process of acquisition, preservation and accessibility of archival records. The Archivist works with both the Awareness Committee to develop educational programs and events that enhance public awareness, as well as the Indigenous History Committee to foster Reconciliation efforts in the Archives. The Archivist works with and reports to the Executive Director.

35 hours per week; permanent position
Posting closing date: 1 May 2020
Tentative start date: 1 June 2020

Location: Grande Prairie, Alberta
Salary Range: $42,000 – $55,000

The full job posting and description can be viewed at

Archives at Work

Image: Hard at work behind the scenes like these gentlemen!  Two men take time out for coffee beside their equipment and a campfire, ca. 1942 (Fonds 345 Hanna Kirstien, SPRA 2009.040.14)

Self-isolation and facility closures are stressful for everyone. They can also be opportunities while we give health care professionals, public service professionals, and vital service professionals the space and time they need to help keep our communities safe.

Here at the South Peace Regional Archives, while we are closed to the public and suspending our outreach, staff is tending to some long overdue projects. Some are big, some are small. We have a couple of large arrangement projects that we can dedicate substantial amounts of time to in order to finally complete them. Our library shelves need rearrangement to accommodate growth both in the size of our collection and the increase in Indigenous themed texts. And the dreaded cataloging can be tackled.

Work on our quarterly magazine never stops. Our next issue is for the birds. We will be pecking through the records for interesting fonds, photographs, and paper artifacts related to our feathered friends. If you have any suggestions for articles about birds, bird watchers, or bird catchers, please let us know.

This is also a great time for us to plan. We have a number of potential grant project coming up this year. Preparatory work for the new, temporary hires is underway. While we are not currently conducting outreach, we can still prepare for them. Our outreach program continues to grow into the communities outside Grande Prairie. Our popular City cemetery tours are being expanded into the county this year. Last year’s displays at the MD of Greenview community barbecues and the Grande Cache 50th Anniversary celebrations met with great success and this year we hope to find a venue for displays at Birch Hills County and Saddle Hills County.

In some cases, it is not just Archives staff hard at work. Volunteers on our Awareness committee, Indigenous History committee, and the Future Planning committee are conducting research to support outreach, Reconciliation, and the growth of the South Peace Regional Archives. Our reference file volunteers are still busy clipping away to keep information current.

Last but not least, this is a great time to declutter our desks. All those things-to-do lists, quick research notes, box locations, and I’ll-get-to-that-tomorrow piles can all be gotten to. Finally.

Despite all the work we have to do, we are still available to provide some remote research assistance. Our website is a rich resource for anyone looking for something to do while schools and other facilities are closed. Our online researcher guide can be the start of your journey through South Peace history. Explore by topic or person.  A browse through the online photographs on Alberta on Record can be entertaining and informative. Just type in a single word search and see what comes up. You never know what you might find.

Stay safe, everyone.

Archives Closure

Update Tuesday 17 March 4:00 PM:  The Board of Directors has voted to postpone the Archives’ Annual General Meeting, originally scheduled for March 28th, until further notice. Details regarding the rescheduling of the AGM will be communicated as soon as they are available.

Effective immediately, the South Peace Regional Archives is closed to the public for an indefinite period. We will not be accepting any visitors for donations or research requests, and all volunteer work is paused. For those who wish to carry out research, our web page is an excellent resource for information on local history. We respectfully request those with remote research requests to allow us this week to assess how we will address the situation as events at home and around the world unfold. Updates on our services will be made available on this blog or Facebook. Thank you for your patience.

Holiday Hours

During the month of December, the Archives will be open limited holiday hours. During this time, there may be a delay in services. These limited hours allow our staff and volunteers to celebrate the holiday season with their families. It also allows our team to perform essential behind-the-scenes tasks to meet our mission and mandate. Thank you for your patience and happy holidays from the Archives.

December 6-20th

By appointment only

December 21st-January 2nd

Closed to the public


The Remembrance Tree

The Remembrance Tree has now been taken down.  Thank you to all who participated.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles and the conclusion of the First World War.  To commemorate this important anniversary, the South Peace Regional Archives has partnered with the Grande Prairie Museum on an interactive exhibit. The Remembrance tree contains identification tags (“dog tags”) of local veterans from the conflict. Visit the museum to collect a tag from the tree and then visit the Archives’ online Soldier’s Memorial to learn more about your veteran and thousands of others from our region.

Find Your WWI Veteran Here


Find Out More About the Solider’s Memorial Here

The South Peace River country of Alberta supplied thousands of recruits for both the World Wars. The South Peace Regional Archives is creating an online memorial to the veterans from the South Peace area who were involved in these conflicts. We have over 1,100 WWI soldiers and over 2,300 WWII soldiers listed on the site so far, and the list is growing. As we gather information about each soldier, it will be added to the memorial.

Telling Our Stories: Coming Soon!

Keep an eye out for our upcoming edition of Telling Our Stories all about the Old West! This magazine will feature articles about women in the rodeo, wild horses, Treaty Eight, the Sturgeon Lake Games, the Lake Saskatoon Games, and the Peace Country Land Settlement database. The Old West edition will come out in early September so keep your eye on the website to find the digital copy, or become a member to have the physical copy mailed to you!

Explore the History of…

The “Explore the History” series in Telling Our Stories focuses on rural communities that were once more than what they are today. In this age of increasing urbanization and centralization, it is easy to forget that the much of the history of the South Peace Region is found in these places. Settlers arriving through the first half of the twentieth century settled largely in the countryside. They made their living farming or utilizing the natural resources the region offered. Distance, time, and poor roads were often obstacles to travel so, once arrived, people tended to work and play locally. As transportation improved and services centralized, many of these small communities faded into fond memories of their former selves.

Ready to start exploring? Pick a tour, grab your sunscreen (and bug spray), and join us as we explore the history of the South Peace!


Explore the History of Halcourt Ridge (March 2017: p. 12)

Explore the History of South Wapiti (March 2016: p. 12)

Explore the History of Lymburn & Demmit (September 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of Crystal Lake (June 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of the Spirit River Settlement (March 2015: p. 12)

Explore the History of DeBolt –Ridgevalley (September 2014: p. 12)

Explore the History of Huallen and the Saskatoon Mountain Radar Base (June 2014: p. 12)

Explore the History of Grande Prairie and Environs ca. 1914 (March 2014: p. 10)

Explore the History of Belloy and Codesa (September 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History Across the Smoky (June 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History of Bezanson (March 2013: p. 10)

Explore the History of the Bear Creek Flats (September 2012: p. 8)

Explore the Aboriginal History of our Place Names (June 2012: p. 8)

Explore the History of White Mountain (March 2012: p.8)

Explore the History of Grovedale (September 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of the Kleskun Hills (June 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of Bear Creek (March 2011: p. 8)

Explore the History of Sturgeon Lake (September 2010: p. 8)

Explore the History of New Fish Creek (March 2010: p. 8)

Explore the History of the Burnt River Valley (December 2009: p. 8)

Archives Receives Provincial Recognition for Telling Our Stories Magazine

Last month, the South Peace Regional Archives received provincial recognition for Telling Our Stories magazine.  The Archives Society of Alberta (ASA) presented the Alan D. Ridge Award of Merit (Print) to this “high-quality publication,” published by the South Peace Regional Archives. The nomination stated that Telling Our Stories is “an inspiration to the other heritage institutions in our Network and is what many aspire to achieve.” ASA Board Member Carson Murphy formally presented the award to Archives staff on Friday, May 31st.

Alan D. Ridge Publications Award

Each year, the Archives Society of Alberta “recognizes excellence in the form of research, opinion, analysis, etc. on some aspect of archives studies, records management, the use of records, archival institutions, or the archival profession.” The Alan D. Ridge Award of Merit (Print) recognizes these contributions via print resources such as books, pamphlets, brochures, peer-reviewed articles, etc.

The award is named in honour of Alan D. Ridge, Provincial Archivist of Alberta from 1968-1984. His active involvement in archives and records management in England, Canada, and the United States has provided leadership and stimulation to the archival community in Alberta and beyond.

Telling Our Stories Magazine

Telling Our Stories is a quarterly magazine, published by the South Peace Regional Archives. The magazine highlights content and resources from the Archives’ collections and includes submissions from Archives’ staff, volunteers, and members of the public. First published in 2009, Telling Our Stories began as a newsletter before transitioning to a magazine format in the fall of 2017. Issues in 2018 highlighted “Timeless Love: Weddings of the South Peace” (March), “National Indigenous History Month” (June), “South Peace Fish & Game” (September), and “International Travels” (December). Telling Our Stories is available to the public, free of charge, at the Archives or through our website. Members of the Archives’ Society receive print copies via mail.

ASA Board Member Carson Murphy formally presents the Alan D. Ridge Award of Merit (Print) to Archives staff Alyssa Currie (Executive Director) and Josephine Sallis (Archivist), 31 May 2019.

Bonnets for Easter

The Kentucky Derby hasn’t got anything on these ladies! New clothes for Easter had been a tradition for many families for years. The Just-A-Mere-Ladies Club took that a little bit further with their annual Easter bonnet creations. Seems like something we might to revive.

La Glace Just-A-Mere-Ladies Club group photo featuring their specially made hats. Ladies present include Isabelle Christiansen, Mabel Hagen, Alice Wartenbe, Gloria Cavanough, Glady Maple?, Jean Haakstad

Happy Easter!

We’re sorry to announce that we are closed for Easter Monday. Here’s a little Easter joy to alleviate the inconvenience.

Cards and postcards are wonderful bits of personal correspondence that can shed bits of light on personal history. These two Easter postcards from the Grimm-Vader Family fonds are an example. The first has no correspondence, suggesting good intentions but perhaps a bit of forgetfulness or procrastination on the part of a young man (Ora Grimm). The second was sent to Mr. Ora Grim while he was visiting family in Venus, Nebraska.

“Raven, Nebraska, April 21, 1916

Dear Nephew,

As we got a letter from Ralph telling us you was here from Canada, would be glad to have you Boys both come up or I make up a visit. We are all well. It has been cold and windy now for some time. Drop us a line. With Best Wishes from Aunt Celia & family, Raven, Nebraska, Brown, Co.”

This short piece of correspondence helps us build a picture of an extended family with a foothold in two countries. Luckily, we have more than this to go on for the Grimm-Vader family. Processing for this fonds is nearing completion and will soon be ready for researchers. It includes almost a thousand photographs, postcards, and two extensive family histories.

We are very grateful to Nora and Ray Grimm for sharing their family history with the Archives. It will be a wonderful treasure for years to come.