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.