The Agassiz-Harrison Museum collects items with a strong connection to the natural and cultural history of Agassiz, Harrison Mills, and Harrison Hot Springs. In this column, I will describe the archives, or documentary collection, housed within our facility. These items “tell” the stories of our community in different ways than collections objects do. They usually contain descriptions, observations, or images of our community events and/or members.
Our archival collection currently consists of: advertisements, business ledgers, diaries, family histories, magazines, maps, newspapers, paintings, photographs, and obituaries. We also collect combinations of these items for our subject files. For instance, we have a very thick file on the Agassiz Fall Fair and Corn Festival, which includes photographs, newspaper clippings, and posters. Further, we collect documentary files from individuals, families, businesses or organizations within our community, which we refer to as fonds (e.g., Inkman Family Fonds).
Agassiz-Harrison Museum staff and volunteers work hard every week to organize and verify the references of our archival collections items. We have been working most recently on re-boxing our newspaper collections (Agassiz Advance, Observer, Voice) and refiling our photograph collection by item number. This will ensure that each item is protected from dust and sunlight and also improves its accessibility (i.e., we can find it when we need it!). We hope to further our digitization efforts in the near future so that these wonderful items can be made available on our website for members of our community and beyond.
If you are having trouble organizing and preserving your personal, business, or family documentary materials, please get in touch with us. We can help you figure out the best way to store and protect your items for the future. Alternatively, if you have items that expand our understanding of our community, please consider donating them to the Agassiz-Harrison Museum.
I have recently started a Flashback Friday post on our Facebook (Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Visitor Information Centre), Twitter (@AgassizMuseum), and Instagram (@agassizbc) feed. Each Friday I share a “historic” photo from our collection in order to promote our community’s documented history. Please follow us and make Flashback Friday a great start to your weekend!
Finally, thank you to all who visited the Agassiz-Harrison Museum on Saturday July 21 during our Community Open House. Approximately 400 people stopped by for a tour of the galleries, collections storage, and archives, and nibbled on our heritage treats. You shared many stories and experiences of life in the Agassiz-Harrison Valley, including some ideas for upcoming exhibitions at the museum. We look forward to welcoming you back soon!
–Lindsay Foreman, manager/curator for the Agassiz-Harrison Museum and Visitor Information Centre