Happy Easter

The Archives will be closed for the long weekend and open again on Tuesday.

Two girls looking at rabbit on table, Pacific National Exhibition, 1952. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-1765.

Two girls looking at rabbit on table, Pacific National Exhibition, 1952, detail. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-1765.

New Gallery Exhibit – Postcard Views

A new exhibit, titled Postcard Views: Classic Vancouver Postcards in Drawings and Paintings, is now showing at the City of Vancouver Archives’ Gallery. The exhibit is by Robert Sandilands, a retired Vancouver architect with long standing interests in the histories of art, photography, Vancouver and, more recently, postcards.

Marine Building by Night (ca. 1940) – 2016, Painting: Acrylic on canvas. Photo: C.Hagemoen

Marine Building by Night (c.1940) – 2016.  Photo:C.Hagemoen

Inspired by the “Golden Age” of vintage picture postcards (ca. 1905-1940), Sandilands uses postcards, mainly from his collection, as “interesting models” for the creation of drawings and paintings. Sandilands believes that these postcards “can be viewed as miniature icons deserving of a larger representation… both for their material qualities as ink or photographic emulsion on card as well as their pictorial ambition”. Continue reading

Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference 2015

In late November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Portland, Oregon. Here are a few of the highlights.

Portlandia at night

Portlandia at night

HACK DAY

Once again, AMIA partnered with the Digital Library Foundation (DLF) on a one-day event where archivists and developers could work together on digital problems. This year’s award-winning projects were: Continue reading

Our Goad’s Vanmap project won a Heritage BC award

We’re pleased to announce that our project to create a historical layer in Vanmap from the 1912 Goad’s Fire Insurance Plan has won a BC Heritage award in the Heritage Education & Awareness category.

35th annual heritage BC awards gala logo

The awards will be presented February 18 at The Imperial, a renovated heritage building.

We’re looking forward to learning about the rest of the winning projects. Come chat with us if you’re at the gala!

iPRES International Conference on Digital Preservation 2015

This past November I attended iPRES 2015. iPRES is one of the foremost international conferences on digital preservation, and the conference location rotates between North America, Europe, and Asia. iPRES 2015 was hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

UNC Chapel Hill, Louis Round Wilson Library, which houses the university’s archives and special collections. Source: Ildar Sagadejev, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

UNC Chapel Hill, Louis Round Wilson Library, which houses the university’s archives and special collections. Source: Ildar Sagadejev, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

iPRES 2015 was a great opportunity to learn about recent developments in digital preservation research and practice, and to swap stories and ideas with fellow archivists as well as practitioners of many other stripes. The digital preservation community is highly varied and necessarily involves the expertise of multiple professions, and one of the most satisfying elements of my time at iPRES was the chance to look at familiar problems from new angles. Continue reading

New in the public domain 2016

On January 1st, the copyright expired for some of our holdings: they are now in the public domain in Canada. Digital materials are no longer restricted to being viewed only at the Archives, but are available online to all. Here’s a quick look at some of the digital objects that have become easier to view and re-use.

8 clowns in a group pose

Publicity photo of Polack Bros. Circus 1965 clowns. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6027.

Continue reading

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon December 24 to 9am Monday, January 4.

Cover of Christmas menu for Hotel Vancouver, 1891

Cover of Christmas menu for Hotel Vancouver, 1891

 

Inside pages of Christmas menu, Hotel Vancouver, 1891

Inside pages of Christmas menu, Hotel Vancouver, 1891

This 1891 Christmas menu from the first Hotel Vancouver (the current one is the third) is in AM108, the Oppenheimer family fonds. It is part of a file called Scrapbook: New Year’s Christmas Greetings.

Merging Time: A Modern Perspective

The popular photography exhibit, Merging Time, is now showing at the City of Vancouver Archives gallery. This year’s collection features 13 new “now-and-then” interpretations of images from the Archives holdings.

A member of the public views the Merging Time: A Modern Perspective photography exhibit. Photo credit: Christine Hagemoen.

A member of the public views the Merging Time: A Modern Perspective photography exhibit. Photo credit: Christine Hagemoen.

Every fall, the Archives features new works created by students in Langara College’s Photo-Imaging Program. Students are assigned to visit the Archives to find photographs with unique elements defining the past, such as fashion, transportation, advertising, and storefront signage. Then, with a DSLR camera, they return to the original location of the archival photograph to shoot a modern-day version. The students merge a digital version of the archival photograph with the modern-day replication to produce a composite of the past and present. This year’s selections date from the 1900s to the 1950s, and feature the West End, Gastown, Chinatown, downtown Vancouver, UBC and Mount Pleasant.

Archival photograph selected by Courtney Naesgaard for the Merging Time exhibit. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, 1946. Reference code: AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

Archival photograph selected by Courtney Naesgaard for the Merging Time exhibit. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, 1946. Reference code: AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

The main challenge the students face is figuring out where and how each photograph was taken. Sometimes the original photograph may have been taken with the camera in the middle of the road or where a new building now stands. Determining the focal length and angle of the shot further complicates the process of matching the current-day image with the original perspective. This is where the techniques taught in the course come into play. Using Photoshop, the students adjust the perspective of their modern-day image to match the framing and composition of the original archival photograph.

Digital composite by Courtney Naesgaard, 1946/2015. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, incorporating Archives image AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

Digital composite by Courtney Naesgaard, 1946/2015. Street traffic at Pender Street and Richards Street, incorporating Archives image AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-4225.

Once the perspective is matched, students block, mask, blend and merge the past and present elements into a single photograph. The result is a seamless digital composite where the two eras converge and are presented simultaneously.

Archival photograph selected by Amberlee Pang for the Merging Time exhibit. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, c. 1926. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

Archival photograph selected by Amberlee Pang for the Merging Time exhibit. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, c. 1926. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

This returning photography show is the Archives’ most popular exhibit, and we are always thrilled to see how artists apply their creative skills to the digitized material in our holdings.

Digital composite by Amberlee Pang, c.1926/2015. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, incorporating Archives image AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

Digital composite by Amberlee Pang, c.1926/2015. Hotel Balmoral, Hastings Street, incorporating Archives image AM54-S4-: Hot N35.

Merging Time: A Modern Perspective will be on display at the Archives until the end of January, 2016. Please visit during our regular hours: Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

For those who are unable to attend the gallery in person, you can view the Merging Time exhibit in this Langara College flickr album.

The 2015 Vancity Theatre Screenings are now on YouTube

We had another successful run showcasing our moving image series at the Vancity Theatre this past November. Every year, we are thrilled to see the enormous interest our screenings generate. We are aware that due to sellouts, the theatre must turn away many hopeful theatre goers. To accommodate as many people as possible, each year we will continue to hold multiple screenings, and rerun previous years’ screenings. You can also view all past shows on our YouTube channel, including this year’s Vancouver – A Distant Mirror and Reflecting the City (Redux). Please note that online content will not include pre-screening projected snipes and presentations, or any commentary or music accompaniment. For more information about the most recent screenings, please visit our previous post.

We hope to see you at our 2016 show!

Listed below are the four sections of Vancouver – A Distant Mirror, and the individual archival films featured. Continue reading

Giving the gift of history

It’s that time of year again, the season of giving. Stuck for holiday gift ideas? Why not give the gift of local history? How about creating your own artwork using historical photographs of Vancouver? Sound intriguing? Then read on for a step-by-step guide to downloading hi-res photos from our online database.

The City of Vancouver Archives has approximately 80,000 high-resolution photographs that are available for download from our online database. They are either Public Domain or City of Vancouver copyrighted images, which means that you are free to download and use them for anything your heart desires. The creative possibilities are endless, so let’s get started.

  1. First, navigate to the City of Vancouver online database – searcharchives.vancouver.ca
Search Archives main page. Select "Advanced search" at top of page.

1. Search Archives main page. Select “Advanced search” at top of page.

Continue reading