For Saskatchewan Archives Week, the Humboldt and District Museum is taking patrons back to 1981, when the Uniplex was not yet completed. A variety of photos showing fundraising efforts and other events were donated to the museum by City Hall, and museum staff is inviting people to check them out and part with any information they may have.
“We have all these old photographs and we need assistance and who better to assist us to identify them?” said museum staff member, Brenda Duerr. “Even though it’s just back in the ‘80s, some of the people look a little bit different. It’s no use having photographs if you don’t have the information that goes behind it, and we know we can get this information from the local people.”
They know when and where the photographs were taken, but what they don’t know is who is pictured in them.
The purpose of Saskatchewan Archives Week is to show the importance of archives and archivists to the province. It is the 10th annual one, and different museums across the province will do different events to commemorate it. For example, La Ronge is displaying photos from five different photographers, ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s. North Battleford is displaying information on those in the community who served in WWI. Prince Albert is displaying maps and photos depicting the city’s history.
For the Humboldt Museum, getting the display up and running was was a long process, and Duerr is thankful there were summer students to help them scan and catalogue the photos. Each photograph was scanned twice in different file formats, and then catalogued.
“When it came in we thought, ‘This is something we need to preserve,’” Duerr said.
The display consists of photocopies of the pictures, since they want to be able to preserve the originals for as long as possible. Patrons are invited to write any information they have on the back of the picture, and Duerr said they’ve already seen a lot of people come in and leave the information they have.
One of the more interesting instances of the crowdsourced information was when Irene Dutchak saw a photo of a fundraising table at the Uniplex and made the connection to some buttons she had at home. They used to hand out those same buttons to people who donated to the cause. She went home and came back with the buttons, which will remain at the museum.
“It’s amazing what I have in my house!” Dutchak laughed.
That exact situation is what the museum staff was hoping to jumpstart with its display.
“What’s really cool is she saw the photo, and she came back to donate the buttons,” Duerr said.
The display will remain up until the end of the week, but if anyone wants to come in and see, a binder with the photos will be available to look through.
“It’s really cool when people come in and say ‘whoa, I’m in the museum!’” Duerr laughed.