Summer may be almost over, but the Oliver and District Heritage Society’s Archives is buzzing with new growth and opportunity.
Earlier this year, the ODHS was delighted to be the recipient of a $79,000 grant from Library and Archives Canada, which will allow them to deal with a significant backlog of archival materials – maps, scrapbooks, photographs, and original documents that represent a gold mine of historical information about Oliver – by hiring two new specialized staff members on contract.
“Receiving a large grant for a community this size is almost unprecedented in my experience. We never dreamed we could be this fortunate and the impact will be hugely positive” said long time heritage activist and society president Sue Morhun.
The two archivists will be dedicated to working in the Oliver Archives for a whole year assessing items, applying conservation methods to reverse or prevent deterioration, and properly arranging and storing them in climate-controlled archival storage.
“Every archives and museum has a backlog of items waiting to be added to the collection, sitting in limbo,” said executive director Manda Maggs. “We are extremely lucky to be given this opportunity to have ours dealt with. I’m very pleased with the level of expertise and experience we were able to bring in on this project, it’s highly specialized work.”
“The rest of the archival collection is in a pretty good state, all the groundwork in in place. Once we get through the backlog portion, everything will be beautifully organized. The generous support received from Library and Archives Canada to cover the wages needed for this project is very timely for us at this stage.”
As for the backlog itself, there is an estimate 50 linear feet (15 meters) of materials to work through.
“What’s in the backlog exactly?” Maggs said. “It’s any number of things – scrapbooks and photo albums, farm records, newspaper clippings, or maps to buried treasure up in the Fairview town site. Who knows? We’ll let you know in a year’s time what we find. Our membership will be receiving updates in our e-newsletter The Lamplighter of the most interesting and unusual treasures we find.”
The public are welcome to access the resource library, research and copy services, and free wifi throughout the year at the archives (430 Fairview Rd.), Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. or by appointment.