Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon Tuesday December 24 to 9am Thursday January 2.

Orpheum Holiday Card 1913

Card from the Orpheum Theatre, 1913. Reference code AM1519-: PAM 1913-10.

This holiday card is not from the Orpheum Theatre we have today but from the second of three theatres in Vancouver which had the Orpheum name. That theatre  was built in 1891 as the Vancouver Opera House and was renamed Orpheum in 1913.

2013 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference

In early November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Richmond, Virginia. Here are a few of the highlights.

Buttons from AudioVisual Preservation Solutions, consultants specializing in AV preservation.

Buttons from AudioVisual Preservation Solutions, consultants specializing in AV preservation.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is an association for many different types of professionals involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.

HACK DAY

In partnership with the Digital Library Federation, AMIA held its first Hack Day. Software developers and non-developers (like me!) spent a day solving problems. I was part of the group of non-developers that created a guide to using FFmpeg software which was aimed at archivists who would like to use it but find it too complex. We put the guide on a wiki, expecting it to become more useful as information is added. Our group won one of the jury prizes. Continue reading

Reflecting the City: 2013 Screening at Vancity Theatre

There was a great turnout at our annual screening this past Sunday: Reflecting the City screened to a sold-out crowd, and the theatre had to turn away many hopeful theatre-goers in the rush line-up. Fortunately, a handful of reserved or pre-sold seats went unclaimed, and a lucky and patient few were able to get in.

The rush line-up. Photograph by Kristine Aguilar.

The rush line-up. Photograph by Kristine Aguilar.

Veteran Archives volunteer Kristine Aguilar used photographs from our holdings to design two beautiful posters that were on display in the Vancity Theatre atrium. Continue reading

Reflecting the City – Vintage Movies from the City of Vancouver Archives

Back by popular demand, the City of Vancouver Archives presents its fourth annual screening at the Vancity Theatre: Reflecting the City.

Together with local historian Michael Kluckner, we’ve dug out old gems and have discovered new ones too, and we can’t wait to show them on the big screen. Join us on Sunday, November 24th at 2:00 PM as we showcase these latest finds from our moving image collection.

Train tracks and a reflection of the Marine Building in the water (c. 1939). Reference code: AM640-S1-: CVA 260-999.

Train tracks and a reflection of the Marine Building in the water (c. 1939). Reference code: AM640-S1-: CVA 260-999.

Michael Kluckner will provide historical insight and context for each movie. This screening will also premiere newly digitized holdings and recent acquisitions not yet available in our online database. Continue reading

The Two Fronts of War

The First World War left few Canadians untouched. About 8% of the country’s population served during the war. Of those, about 10% died and almost a quarter were wounded. Citizens at home worked to support those fighting overseas.

image of people at cenotaph

1929 Armistice Day ceremonies. The Cenotaph was erected in 1924. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM1535-: CVA 99-2010

Home

Many organizations, societies and companies raised money to help the troops. Continue reading

Ghosts of Vancouver: our city’s best-known haunts

Are they really haunted? You’ll have to find out for yourself. These are the stories we’ve heard.

Evoking a medieval French castle, the Chateau-style Hotel Vancouver, complete with steep copper roof (now painted green), ornate dormers, and creepy gargoyles, is alleged to be haunted by an elegant “lady in red” who patrols the 14th floor. This fashionable apparition has reportedly been seen walking on an invisible ledge by hotel guests, employees and film crews. It is said that the hotel’s elevator often stops on the 14th floor, and as the elevator door opens on its own, the lady in red is seen gliding through the hallway . . . .

Hotel Vancouver – Archibald & Schofield, 1928-1939. Reference code AM54-S4-: Hot P70

This medieval style, fortress-like landmark is Vancouver ‘s earliest drill hall. Its notable features include two rounded towers complete with battlements, and rusticated stone trim. Three and a half foot thick walls and a parapet made from Gabriola Island limestone rest solidly on a foundation of huge granite blocks. The Hall has always housed Vancouver’s and British Columbia’s senior militia regiment, The British Columbia Regiment – Duke of Connaught’s Own. Various eerie sounds are the most commonly reported evidence of other-worldly residents: footsteps. . . . voices. . . . books falling from shelves. . . . items falling from walls. However, the image of a man has been observed in the Senior NCO’s and Officer’s messes. Little is known of the identity of those who haunt the Drill Hall, but the military personnel who trained here saw action in the Boer War, as well as the First and Second World Wars. Continue reading

“Through the Lens: Building Vancouver’s History” at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Join historians John Atkin and Michael Kluckner  in the Space Centre‘s digital Planetarium Star Theatre to look back at Vancouver as you’ve never seen it before. Two “indoor” digital walking tours allow you to experience the changes that have enveloped our city over the last 100 years.

Michael Kluckner's presentation pays special attention to the  Olympic Village and Kerrisdale areas. View of Arbutus Street at 37th Avenue, Reference code AM54-S4-3-: PAN NX

Michael Kluckner’s presentation pays special attention to the Olympic Village and Kerrisdale areas. View of Arbutus Street at 37th Avenue, Reference code AM54-S4-3-: PAN NX

The presentations use a selection of images from our W. J. Moore panorama negatives, which we’ve featured here before.  Remarkably, the Space Centre has used the same high-resolution JPG images that you can download from our online search and projected them to fill the Star Theatre. They are matched with stunning modern panoramas and other audiovisual elements to produce two unique shows.

7:00pm Wednesday November 6 (John Atkin)
7:00pm Wednesday December 4 (Michael Kluckner)
Tickets available at the door.

Vancouver’s Home Movie Day event October 19

Vancouver will have an International Home Movie Day event this Saturday afternoon. All are welcome, even if you don’t have home movies.

Vintage projector advertisement

Vintage projector advertisement

Home Movie Day is a free public event and the world’s leading effort to honour and preserve small format films. Bring in your amateur films, have them assessed by film professionals, and, if you wish, films in good condition will be projected for all to enjoy. On a second screen, there will be a continuous screening of home movies from the CBC Media Archives, the Royal BC Museum and us.

You can find out what’s on those old films you inherited, chat with archivists, discuss a transfer to video with a vendor, grab some popcorn and watch movies for hours. Check out the Vancouver event on Facebook!

Children and animals in garden, ca. 1930. Reference code AM1470-: MI-43.

Home Movie Day was conceived in 2002 by a group of film archivists as a way to promote the preservation of amateur small format films. They were concerned about what would happen to all the home movies shot on film during the 20th century. They knew many people had boxes full of family memories that they’d never seen for lack of a projector or out of fear that the films were too fragile to be viewed. They also knew that many people were having their amateur films transferred to videotape or DVD, with the mistaken idea that their new digital copies would last forever and the “obsolete” films could be discarded.

October 19 has been proclaimed Home Movie Day in the City of Vancouver.

Home Movie Day 2013 proclamation, City of Vancouver

Home Movie Day 2013 proclamation, City of Vancouver

 

  • Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013
  • Time: 12 – 4 pm
  • Place: The Hangar at the CDM, 577 Great Northern Way, Vancouver
  • Accepted film formats: 16mm, 8mm, Super 8

See you there!

Boxes and More Boxes: Constructing Safer Housing for Panoramic Glass Plate Negatives

This post was written by Kathy Kinakin, one of our volunteers.

What to do when set to the task of rehousing of 335 17.8cm x 43cm panorama glass plate negatives stored in the drawers of a filing cabinet? The negatives are part of the Stuart Thomson fonds. Thomson was active as a commercial photographer in Vancouver for several decades in the first half of the 20th century. The negatives are large, very fragile and heavy, and because of their unusual size, the solution isn’t as easy as putting them in standard archival envelopes and an off-the-shelf archival glass negative storage box. In this case, a custom-made housing was necessary.

The glass negatives as they were stored in the drawers of the filing cabinet. Photograph by Kathy Kinakin.

The glass negatives as they were stored in the drawers of the filing cabinet. Photograph by Kathy Kinakin.

Glass plate negatives are normally safest when housed in envelopes and placed upright on their long edge in a storage box, as this protects the delicate surface of the negative from pressure. The size and weight of these negatives meant that only 7-10 of them could be put in a single box before it became too heavy to handle. A box like this would be quite thin and very unstable when sitting on a shelf so this was not a practical option. A larger, more stable box with spacers to securely hold the negatives could be used, though with the number of negatives needing to be housed, this wouldn’t be an efficient use of space. With all of this in mind, I decided to build a custom sink mat for each negative, and a custom clamshell box for a group of mats. Continue reading

Science – how sweet it is! From sunshine to sugar, growing it right

Fifth in a series about the BC Sugar records

In an earlier post we showcased the work of BC Sugar chemists and the records they created and used. Company agriculturists and plant geneticists also contributed to sugar beet production research. The first PhD hired by BC Sugar was Dr. Frank Peto, an agriculturalist with a doctorate in cytogenetics from the University of Wales.

Dr. Frank Peto in a sugarcane field in the Dominican Republic at the BC Sugar-owned Ozama Sugar Refining Company, ca.1945. Reference code: 2011-092.4388

Dr. Frank Peto in a sugarcane field in the Dominican Republic at the BC Sugar-owned Ozama Sugar Refining Company, ca.1945. Reference code: 2011-092.4388.

Dr. Peto was head of BC Sugar’s agricultural research department. His career started as a National Research Council plant researcher and his specialized knowledge led to working with beet seeds at Buckerfields Ltd. In 1944 the portion of Buckerfields dealing with sugar beet seeds was purchased by BC Sugar. Continue reading