Archives Moment: The Archives Around Our Community

The Musée Héritage Museum Archives really prides itself in knowing that we are not just a repository that houses important archival materials from St. Albert’s past, but also an institution that wants to share our materials with our community so that we can grow our collective knowledge. One of the ways that archives have traditionally done this is by inviting people to come into the museum to talk with staff and look through materials that we have, or email research questions. We have also worked to digitize more content over the years and place them in our online searchable database so that the materials are easily accessible.

Additionally, as you will see in the video above, we also go out and meet with our community members to help them with their needs. As a result of this endeavour, you’ll actually see many of our archival materials around the community.

One great example you’ll see if you walk around downtown St. Albert and the Mission area is Founders’ Walk. “The Founders’ Walk serves as a walk through St. Albert’s history and ties together several historic, cultural, educational and commercial facilities.” On this walk you’ll find panels with history that was researched at the museum archives and many photographs from our collection.

Similarly, you may have noticed all the utility boxes all over St. Albert with interesting photos of St. Albert’s past. Those are from our archives as well! We provided the images to the city to create their own designs of fusing the past with the present.

As you saw in the video, we have worked with different organizations such as Red Willow Place and long term care homes. Similar to working with Rock’n August in 2021, one of our largest collaborations was with the Michel Band in 2017 who curated an exhibition about their history. Our staff worked with them and family members in order to produce one of the more significant exhibitions in our history, telling the unique story of a First Nation band and the story of their reserve, that is deeply tied to our region. Our archives worked with members in order to make sure materials were digitized and readily available to them and researchers.

 

Going beyond our museum space, we have placed different displays throughout St. Albert that have included archival materials and some objects from our collection, including sports displays at Servus Place, and helped with displays for the St. Albert Public School District in their yearly historical displays of various schools in their district. We usually have put displays in the main foyer of St. Albert Place as well for many significant events, such as Hometown Hockey back in 2016 and for Rock’n August’s 25th anniversary in 2021.

Private businesses have also worked with us in order to decorate their buildings with photographs. If you walk into a St. Albert business and see older photos or other materials of St. Albert, there is a good chance it came from our archives.

 

Likewise, many publications have used materials from our archives, further spreading our materials worldwide through literature, film, and audio. It is also good to see more local use of our materials by younger people, such as for character and costume interpretation at the Night at the Museum events that were held at the museum by students of Leo Nickerson Elementary School!

Research at the archives is another component that has led to so many wonderful things in our community. It was through research at our archives, using such things as maps, photos, and plans, that the historical sites in our community were restored and have now become major attractions in St. Albert. These sites include the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park, the historic houses on River Lots 23 and 24, the Little White School, Michif Cultural Connections (Juneau House), and the Art Gallery of St. Albert (the former Banque d’Hochelaga building). The Art Gallery of St. Albert building also happens to be celebrating 100 years in 2021!

 

We hope you will see that we are happy to have people visit our archives for their research needs, but we also like to work with our community directly by coming out and meeting you. If you look closely, you’ll see that the Archives is actually everywhere in St. Albert. This includes actual archival materials on display and research from the archives that has led to incredible things around our community. As always, if you are interested in learning more about our archives, or think there may be something at the archives you would like shared with you, please contact us at archives@artsandheritage.ca or 780-459-1528.