Category Archives: Canadian history

Why so dull Canada? Deconstructing Children’s Books on Confederation

Canadian history is often perceived as dull, but I argue that Canada’s history has been made dull in order to obfuscate the diversity of experiences that were legislatively supposed to be outside the experience of the newly confederated Canada

A Walk down Memory Lane: A Public Engagement Project about the Halifax Public Gardens

By Claire L. Halstead Last Friday, I received an intriguing phone call. A woman had seen the recent piece on my Halifax Public Gardens Memory Project on the CBC evening news and she wanted to donate a framed photograph. Like any intrigued historian, I gratefully said yes. The photo, still in its original frame, is hand labeled “Public Gardens, Halifax,… Read more »

kiskisiwin – remembering: Challenging Indigenous Erasure in Canada’s Public History Displays

By Jesse Thistle The short film kiskisiwin – remembering is an intervention in the mythic pioneer fables Canadians tell themselves at public history sites to justify colonial settlement while delegitimizing Indigenous claims to their own ancestral lands on Turtle Island. The logic goes something like this: if nothing or no one existed here before settlement, then it is okay that… Read more »

Contesting Canada Day : A Tradition of Engagement, Challenges and Change

Matthew Hayday “For God’s sakes won’t you listen? What have we got to celebrate? I don’t like what has happened over the last 500 years or 125 years.”[i] No, that’s not a typo, and it’s not a quote that comes from the media coverage of protest against this year’s Canada 150 celebrations, although it certainly has the same feel. I… Read more »

Ten Resources to Contextualize Archives and Archival Labour

To encourage further engagement of the issues presented throughout the archives theme week we have compiled ten resources to contextualize archival practice, archival labour, and the work archivists do. There are many colleagues both within Canadian archives and beyond who have been writing and speaking about the challenges of counteracting the ‘why isn’t it already digitized’ question, directly confronting the… Read more »

Collaboration between archivists and historians: finding a middle ground

Anna St.Onge [i] Let’s begin with a story One afternoon, a few years ago, one of our student assistants called me up from the back processing area to answer a patron question. “How can I help you?” I asked. “I’m looking for a diary written by a woman who emigrated from Hungary to Toronto in 1954.” I quickly ran through… Read more »

Changing the Narrative

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Jennifer Weymark Much like the saying “history is written by the victor” history also tends to be written by the privileged elite. Within the archival field in Canada, this privilege is directly connected to the colonial nature of archives. Across Canada, archival collections tend to be filled with documents related to, and from, the perspective of the upper echelon of… Read more »

Archives, Constructed and Incomplete

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Sara Janes Archival collections are put together through many individual actions and decisions made by many individual people, and those people, sometimes without knowing it, have a massive impact on how we understand the past. Records (documents such as papers, correspondence, photographs, maps, recordings, and more) need to get into the archives before they can be available for researchers. Records… Read more »

What makes for an archives? A look at the core archival functions

Roger Gillis Archives is a term that can have many different connotations. In the loosest sense of the word it can be taken to mean a collection of historical records, and what counts as “historical” varies from one setting to the next.  As institutions, archives tend to adhere to several core principles: acquisition, appraisal, arrangement & description, preservation, and access…. Read more »

Missed connections: looking for everything in the archives

Danielle Robichaud Archivists are commonly asked by researchers to produce everything available about a particular topic. While understandable from a researcher standpoint, fulfilling the request is a challenge. Unlike library holdings, archival material is rarely described to the item-level. This makes it difficult for archivists to do more than point researchers to where everything about a particular topic could be…. Read more »