Preservation Project: 2014 - Present
PRESERVATION AND CATALOGUING OF THE BCHS ARCHIVES
In 2014, a project to organize, catalogue, and preserve the extensive Archives at the BCHS was initiated. The BCHS Archives, housed mainly in the Old Courthouse and the Centennial Building, consist of thousands of photographs, journals, scrapbooks, documents, and books. Together, these irreplaceable artefacts tell the story of Brome County from its earliest days.
Yet the Archives are in need of significant help. Though they have survived thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers and staff, in recent years lack of funding and staff have left the Archives in need of serious organization and preservation. Brian Shemilt, a director at the BCHS, saw the need for an Archives-focused project to organize, digitize, catalogue and preserve these priceless artefacts. Eventually, they will be made available to the public digitally via the website, improving access and enabling individuals further afield to discover and explore the history and heritage of Brome County.
Illustration: Ann Davidson / Brian Shemilt and Abbey Lacroix showing sampling of the thousands of documents needing preservation at the BCHS courthouse in Knowlton.
Shemilt visited the Canadian Museum of History in 2014 along with fellow director Cari Ensio to learn about the cataloguing and digitization of archival collections, along with the methods and materials used to properly preserve these delicate materials. A computer, scanner, and printer were purchased, along with archives cataloguing software, Archilog, to begin the project. An Archives Committee, consisting of Shemilt, Ensio, historian and BCHS lecturer Jimmy Manson, ETRC archivist Jodi Robinson, and BCHS Managing Director Arlene Royea, was formed to oversee the project.
Thanks to a generous grant by the MRC Brome-Missisquoi Pacte Rural in 2014, University of Montreal student Abbey Lacroix was hired to begin the daunting task. Trained and supervised by Shemilt, Abbey has now made considerable headway in the project. She has also been joined by several local volunteers. To read more about the project, please read the BCN Article by Ann Davidson: BCHS Museum Preservation supports research, validates past (PDF).
If you are interested in helping with the Archives Preservation Project, please contact us!