Each year, the first week of April is recognized in Ontario as Archives Awareness Week. During this week the Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre is inviting you to visit the Archives for free!
In addition to free admission, there is a special event on April 5th at 10:30 a.m. called “Explore Your Archives.” This event will provide a tour of the Research Room and secure archival storage area where you will get to look at some of the photographs and archival materials that were used to research “The Bruce” documentary and book. This event is sponsored by the Bruce County Historical Society.
The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre has been collecting and preserving Bruce County’s history since 1955. In the 1970s, a separate space for the County Archives was established within the Museum. The concept was initiated by the Bruce County Historical Society who donated its collection of miscellaneous archival records in 1979 to form the nucleus of the County Archives.
The Archival Collection continues to grow and covers a wide range of topics including marine, military, sporting events, organizations, families, businesses, social events, and more. If you have items that you would like to donate, contact the Archivist or Curatorial Assistant to discuss a possible donation. All items are reviewed for inclusion into the Collection based on the following factors: relevance and significance to Bruce County, the item’s condition, and the context or story accompanying the item, before they are accepted as a donation. Examples of past donations include personal letters, diaries and reminiscences, business ledgers and reports, organizations’ minutes, newsletters and reports, maps, videos, and photographs.
Another archive area that is becoming quite popular is the Online Collections. This website provides information about some of the items preserved in the Archives, as well as objects housed within the Museum. The over 13,000 online records capture only a small percentage of the Museum’s complete inventory, and more items are consistently added. The online resource enables people to conduct basic searching for resources, as well as view thousands of historic images from the comfort of their homes. Not only are photographs displayed, there are also diaries, letters, certificates, holiday cards, and posters too. A video of search tips has just been released and the Archives is fortunate to have 10 regular volunteers who devote time weekly to physically organizing, describing and digitizing items in the Archival Collection.
Perhaps you’re wondering why you should visit the Archives. Over the past year, people have accessed resources in the Archives to discover more about their family’s history, places of residence and businesses; they have prepared for anniversary celebrations of clubs and organizations; they’ve gathered information for Remembrance Day ceremonies; and students have worked on school projects. Whether you’re interested in fashion, sport, ships, buildings, myths or memories, there’s something to inspire you in the Archives. Plan a visit, you just might discover more than you imagined!
The Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre Archives and Research Room are open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and remember, during Archive Awareness week, access is free.