On June 13th 1933, Major J.S. Matthews declared the Vancouver City Archives officially open and on April 7th, 1993 (20 years ago yesterday) a group was formed to support Vancouver’s archives. The Friends of the City Archives hold regular meeting, sponsor talks, promote awareness about the archives, encourage appreciation of the city’s history, and much more.
For their anniversary, I contacted author Michael Kluckner (Vanishing Vancouver, Vancouver Remembered) who is on the Board of Directors to see if he could contribute a few words about the Friends:
“Public institutions like the City of Vancouver Archives need support groups to publicize their activities and supplement their programs. The Friends of the Archives, celebrating its 20th anniversary on April 7th, has been just such a group. With a volunteer board, it has received more than $80,000 in provincial gaming funds between 2000 and 2012 and has raised $78,830 through its own programs – lectures, field trips, special events and donations from its members.
What’s become of all this money? The main project in this Internet age has been the ongoing description and digitization of archival photographs in the archives’ holdings, a project that has hired numerous technicians and made Vancouver’s history accessible to anyone who can get on the web. Even the search engine that makes the archives’ holdings accessible on-line was funded by the Friends.”
I have been using the archives for research purposes for years and now you can even find people taking images from the online database and posting them to their Instagram profiles. It’s always good to be reminded that these resources take time to produce, preserve, catalogue, store, and share — and we should be supporting the source.
If you would like to learn more about upcoming events to support the archives, just follow the Friends of the Archives site for listings and donation information. Follow the City of Vancouver Archives’ blog, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as well.
As Michael puts it: “…Remember that any city with an interesting future is likely to have had a fascinating past.”