Archives Moment: St. Albert Historical Society photos

The St. Albert Historical Society photographs include some of the most requested resources at the Musée Héritage Museum Archives. The photographs were initially gathered by the St. Albert Historical Society for various projects, with the largest being the publication of St. Albert’s history book, The Black Robe’s Vision, in 1985. The museum initially acquired the photographs from the historical society back in 2003. We have been working on processing the photos and other records from the society ever since.

After the St. Albert Historical Society disbanded in 2020, we made it a priority to get a lot of the photographs published on our online database so that others could view them. We placed about 800 photos online in early 2021. We then worked throughout the rest of that year to digitize and describe the remainder of the photos in the collection, many of which have not been seen by anyone outside of museum staff. By January 2022, we have published the whole collection online, amounting to about 1,400 photographs!

You can search the collection in the St. Albert Historical Society fonds, Photographs series in our database. On this page you will see a brief history about the collection and also a running list on the left hand side with all the photos.



If you want to visually scroll through the photos, you can click on the “Show all” button near the middle of the page beneath the photos and you will be able to scroll through the photo thumbnails. You can then click on a photo to get more details about it.




Going back to the main photos page, you can also search the collection if you have a certain topic you interested in. To do this, you will see on the left hand side, a tab called “Quick Search”. You click on this and then enter your term and then press enter. You will then get a mini-list of the photos related to that term. This is not the entire list of items, for the full list please click on the “Browse all descriptions” link below the mini list, which will bring you to the page with all the results that you can browse through. (Quick tip: There are actually two search tabs on the main page: the Quick Search tab and the main search field at the very top of the page. If you use the main search, you will search the whole archives for related items. So if you just want to search the historical society photos only, use the Quick Search tab, which does a concentrated search in the collection you are already in)

As much as we like sharing with you all of the neat photographs we have processed, we also request some help from you! Occasionally as you scroll through the photographs, you’ll come across some photos that are not completely described because we don’t have all the information about them. Sometimes it’s the date, or perhaps a location, but most of the time the lacking information is on people. So if you scroll through the photos and happen to know some of this missing information, we would greatly appreciate you contacting us to let us know the missing information. We can then work on adding the information to keep it up to date.

The St. Albert Historical Society photographs are one of largest collections in the museum archives, and most heavily utilized. The society did a tremendous job over its lifetime to preserve St. Albert’s history, and we are thankful to them for trusting the museum to continue in their footsteps. To learn more about the society’s history, please visit our previous blog about the society’s legacy. And as always, if you would like to learn about this collection or any other items in our archives, please contact 780-459-15258 or We look forward to hearing from you!