For seven days in February, Lloydminster’s archivists get to be the toast of the town.
This year marks the 10th annual Archives Week, a seven-day celebration of the role archives and archivists play in preserving Saskatchewan’s heritage. The event is put on by the Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists, the body that represents the provincial archival community.
Starting on Feb. 1 and running until Feb. 7, the Lloydminster Regional Archives (LRA) will be putting two-dozen historical black-and-white and colour photographs on display at city hall. There will also be a coffee reception at city hall on Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. with Mayor Rob Saunders expected to make some remarks.
“The goal is to try and engage people and get them to actually appreciate our past,” said LRA board member Joanne MacLauchlan. “The people who sit on the board are very interested in the local and area history and trying to share it.”
Some of the pictures that will be on display include the first airplane to land in Lloydminster, an early calculator used at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School in the 1960s and a pile of buffalo bones from 1885.
MacLauchlan says that the LRA’s collection is provided by members of the community. She says the LRA can help preserve historical documents that might otherwise be lost or forgotten.
“People donate them, people bring them in. It’s really a good idea to have it recorded,” she said. “Lots of people (say,) ‘My grandfather was in the war, and here’s the picture.’ But it’s not archived, it stays within the family. Lots of it gets lost.”
Photographs from the LRA collection can also be found at the Lloydminster Municipal Airport and Lakeland College to be viewed by the public at any time. MacLauchlan says people enjoy viewing the pictures and reading their captions.
“I wasn’t born here and I wasn’t raised here, but there sure is a lot of interesting things in our community,” she said. “We have a lot of history that people are very proud of and the photographs and the collection that were accumulating certainly reflect the pride that people have in our community.”
MacLauchlan says that while buildings and landmarks come and go, it is the duty of archivists to make the impermanent permanent.
“To lose that history is unfortunate, but if it’s recorded in photos and documentation you don’t lose it, you can remember. That’s why we’re our community’s memory,” she said.
MacLauchlan is already looking ahead to next year’s Archives Weeks. She hopes to supplement the photograph collection with other artifacts, like old signs.
“I’m already thinking about next year,” she said.
“Next year, maybe we could have some documents displayed somewhere.”