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.
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
This post was written by Christine Hagemoen.
As a volunteer at the Archives, I was recently tasked with sorting through boxes that contained display materials and photo enlargements from previous Archives exhibits and displays (pre-Internet days). The object was to find interesting content for possible Authenticity blog posts. One of the boxes was marked “Diners” and as a food history buff I was immediately intrigued. Curiously, the box only contained two photo enlargements. I was immediately drawn to this image of the White Lunch from 1918.
White Lunch Ltd. No. 4, 806 Granville St. Vancouver, B.C., 8 Mar. 1918. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code: AM1535-: CVA 99-5167
The photograph shows the rather elegant interior of the White Lunch including customers, servers, menu and prices. In 1918, you could get a bacon & egg sandwich for 15 cents, oyster stew for 25 cents, and a hot clubhouse sandwich for 35 cents.
My curiosity was piqued, so I decided to search the Archives’ database for more images. I started by using the subject term “Restaurants, diners, lunchrooms, etc.” to find out what and where Vancouverites were eating in the 20th century. Continue reading
Kaitlin Haley began volunteering at the Archives in the summer of 2012. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC in history and political science in 2010, she worked as a flight attendant, taking a break from school and deciding on a graduate studies program. An interest in archives and libraries lead her to us. Like many of our other volunteers, Kaitlin has given of her time generously elsewhere including lifeguarding for the World Police and Firefighter Games, running activities at the Musqueam Reading Club and facilitating and helping to organize events for the Beauty Night Society.
Kaitlin at UBC holding her B.A.
After being accepted to several archival and library schools across Canada, Kaitlin chose the program farthest from this coast, Halifax. She will be earning a Master of Library and Information Studies at Dalhousie starting in 2014. Her choice to defer for a year will allow her to continue working for the UN as a flight attendant. Between stints in Africa, which she is currently visiting, we hope Kaitlin will find some down time to visit us before she goes jetting off again! Continue reading
Sean DeMaio volunteered for us for three months in the fall of 2012. In this short period of time, he spent 100 hours at the Archives while still working at the Women’s Health Research Institute at the Research Branch of BC Women’s Hospital. Sean holds a Master’s degree from SFU in Health Policy, where he researched recruitment incentives of physicians in rural BC for his thesis. This led to his involvement in several interesting health research initiatives, such as doing research and writing a report showing the cost effectiveness of live music therapy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Health research work provided experience with data analysis and information management which is what Sean would like to refocus his career on. Volunteering at the Archives was a first step and getting a Masters of Library and Information Studies degree will be the next.
Catalogue card drawer CANADA A to CHI – conquered by Sean!
Here at the Archives, we’re used to working with pre-existing documents and media, though we recently decided to try our hand at creating something new. The idea arose to make a video introducing and promoting our public reading room, which is open for anyone to come and conduct research.
The first step was to find inspiration. Prior to our new video, proper Reading Room protocol had been communicated through a series of humorous “Dos” and “Don’ts” photos. We loved the way it was fun and tongue-in-cheek while getting the important facts across.
This series of posters created by the then-Public Archives of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) shows good and bad Reading Room behavior. Don’t behave like the gorilla!
One other work we enjoyed while preparing this video was created by our friend and colleague at the United Church of Canada BC Conference Archives, the late Bob Stewart, entitled “The Archives – More than a Holding Operation”. The title makes its way into a line in our video, our own little tribute. Unlike Bob, our Archives does not have access to a choir – and none of us can boast rapping skills (well, one of our interns, but we could not convince her to go on camera). Continue reading
Maggie Linardic has been volunteering at the Archives for over a year now. Maggie holds a Fine Arts degree with a major in photography from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Currently she is enrolled at Langara College in the Library and Information Technology Program. Combined with her interest in photography she became aware of volunteer opportunities at the Archives through another volunteer, Helen Lee: thank you Helen! Through her experience working at a small art gallery and studio, Maggie arrived at the Archives and the Langara Program with experience cataloguing artworks.
Maggie with a binder of photo descriptions and photocopies of original photographs! Read on to find out about the Binders project.
The Archives has set up a variety of projects for Maggie, allowing her to gain more cataloguing experience and have some fun handling photographs and negatives. Maggie created item-level descriptions for many of the photographs in the Leslie F. Sheraton fonds. This is a large collection of photographs so this project is a work in progress – some slides are still awaiting titles. The grant-funded scanning part of this project has been completed. The Archives is excited that our new database permits us to offer the scans we create in higher resolution than before. Continue reading
David Marriott began volunteering at the Archives last September and in that time has dedicated around 300 hours to the Archives! David holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a major in Film Production from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. David is the writer/director of numerous short films including Dapper (2007), winner of The Muse Entertainment Enterprises Scholarship, and Dreamland (2009), winner of the Special Jury Mention, Festival des Films de la Relève . His most recent film is the short Backlot (2012). In 2010, David co-created the Black and White Film Foundation, a non-profit screening black and white films at the J.A. De Seve Theatre.
David at our 2011 screening, “Celebrating Yaletown Productions” at the Vancity Theatre.
At the Archives, David has had the opportunity to work on many projects. The Celebrating Yaletown Productions screening was a special event for which he helped design advertising and event materials. David also had the opportunity to sit in the editing suite with Michael Collier, the donor and curator, while the Digibeta tape for the show was being created. This summer David is helping with our screening for 2012. He will not be in town to enjoy the fruits of his labours, but if you will be here mark November 18th on your calendar now for Vintage Vancouver! Continue reading
Doris Fiedrich has dedicated over 200 hundred hours of her time to the Archives since she started volunteering in July of 2011. Her interest in the Archives was sparked when visiting on a class tour as part of her curriculum at Langara’s Library and Information Technology Diploma Program. A woman of many talents, Doris is a photographer who has had many pieces featured in local exhibits. For many years Doris exhibited at Artists in our Midst; here are some of the photos she took at last year’s event. In addition to her portrait, dance, and event photography business, Doris invested a great deal of time and energy in education and around raising her daughter in a home education/ alternative school environment. A love of books draws many people to work in libraries–Doris hopes to marry a love of books with her other passions, art and photography, at a special collections or art library.
These photographs are featured in the Archives’ newest Video Wall display. Reference codes AM1477-1-S5-: CVA 1477-259 (top) and AM640-: CVA 260-414
The eye of a photographer is evident in the new Video Wall show Doris curated for us using photographs from the Archives. Continue reading
Kristine Aguilar holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Concordia University as well as a Fine Arts Diploma from Langara College. While taking a break between degrees and considering her career options she has been volunteering at the Archives. One of the careers that she has considered is Audio Archivist. Preserving, organizing and making available audio materials is a specialized career which many people arrive at through an MLIS degree – this is one of several options that she has been researching. In the 100+ hours Kristine has contributed, she has worked on many projects for us.
Here is Kristine in the Archives reading room with a small selection of different video formats from the Mary Anne McEwen fonds, AM1599.
No audio projects have come her way at the Archives yet, but she did work on our Mary Anne McEwen donation of close to 400 video materials including video reels, Betacam, Umatic and VHS tapes. The content of these tapes feature footage of various Gay Games, including the 1990 Gay Games held in Vancouver, and episodes of Gayblevision, also known as Gay TV, a local weekly half-hour television program for gay people and by gay people. Continue reading
Racan Souiedan volunteered with the Archives for several months in 2011. He left us to focus on writing his masters thesis, titled, “‘The Duties of Neutrality’: The Impact of the American Civil War on British Columbia and Vancouver Island, 1861-1865.” In addition Racan is kept busy with his duties as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Victoria and teaching history and English literature at a private school. Canadian social history has been a constant theme in Racan’s academic career. As a student at SFU, where he completed a BA in history with a minor in political science, he enjoyed researching in archives for his own research and that of the professors he was working with.
Racan with catalogue card drawer ‘A’
The career of archivist has drawn many historians over the years. Racan chose to explore this potential career path through volunteering at the Archives. Several projects benefited from his help and we hope they have helped him decide if archival work is in his future. Continue reading