Spotlight on volunteers – Kira Baker

Kira Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University, where she completed a Joint Major in Arts and Social Sciences in History and Women’s Studies.

In addition to her academic interests, Kira has dedicated many hours to volunteering with many different organizations and causes that interest her. From the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC to the Dogwood Initiative and the Environmental Youth Alliance, Kira has given her time to do all sort of things: from getting up early in order to band bird’s legs, to participating in and organizing public relations initiatives.

Over the years these volunteer positions have lead to paid work experiences, but Kira has continued to find time to give back to her community. The Archives has been privileged to have had Kira one day a week since July 2011. Before pursuing another degree or two or making other big career decisions, she decided to volunteer in a place that is in line with her love of history and at the same time gain some experience somewhat related to her degree from SFU.

Kira rehoused and numbered many photographs in the B.C. Sugar fonds; this image depicts the women who worked in the company’s Cube Department over the years. Item # 2011-092.476

At the Archives, Kira has worked on a few different projects. She tirelessly unrolled landscape drawings and recorded basic data about them such as size, date, job number, the number of drawings in the roll (anywhere from 2 to 32), the property address, and client name. This work will go a long way to making these drawings accessible to the public; the information in the spreadsheet she has been working on will be turned into proper archival descriptions and uploaded to our online database. It is hoped that this spring the final half (~200) of the rolls can be unrolled, described, and rehoused in archival boxes.

Check out these prices! Sugar, 10 lbs for 47¢. You can see how exposure to light has yellowed this flyer over the years. Kira spent several hours unframing framed documents. Forman’s Grocery Flyer, ca. 1898. Item # 2011.092-118

The Archives received an exciting donation in 2011: the B.C. Sugar fonds! We are looking forward to sharing more about this huge body of records as they are processed and made accessible over the course of the next two years. To better preserve the framed documents and photographs that had been displayed in the B.C. Sugar Museum, they were unframed and stored horizontally in acid-free folders. Kira, armed with pliers, knives, screwdrivers and gloves, carefully removed items from frames, assigned numbers, and neatly housed them in archival storage.

The Cube Machine Poem. Item # 2011-092.485

We love our volunteers—and yours

There are many projects that the Archives would not be able to accomplish without our wonderful volunteers, but volunteers are important to any community. This is one of the reasons that the Archives acquires the records of local volunteer-run organizations: these records (minutes, correspondence, reports, photographs etc.) are an important window into Vancouver culture and what life was like in the city over the years. A wealth of information exists in the Archives from these local organizations. Here are a few examples.

  • Greenpeace started in Vancouver and has had an impact both locally and globally. In 1971 the Don’t Make a Wave Committee formed in Vancouver to protest the nuclear testing at Amchitka. The Archives holds the Greenpeace Foundation fonds which includes records of these early protests.
  • The Brock House Society is a local, active, not–for-profit which aims to improve the quality of life for seniors in Vancouver. The Archives holds the Society’s inactive records, dating from the 1970s to 2004, and will be receiving records regularly as they become inactive.
  • The Junior League of Greater Vancouver fonds contains records with a local focus. On June 1, 1927 a Junior Service Club was formed in Vancouver with the objective of establishing a program of volunteer service based on standards which would qualify the club for membership in the Association of Junior Leagues of America. The records were donated not long after the club folded in 2003.

The Archives would like to thank Kira for her dedication and enthusiasm. We’re glad that volunteering continues to be an important part of Kira’s life plan.

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