Longtime volunteer Marlene Dietrich works on one of 20 boxes of obituaries for geneology research at the community archives, located inside the Alberni Valley Museum. (ORLANDO DELANO/Special to the News)

VALLEY SENIORS: Volunteers preserve Alberni Valley’s history

History matters to the people who look after region’s archives

BY ORLANDO DELANO

Special to the News

Someone once wrote: “Because history plays a vital role in our everyday lives, we are able to learn from our past in order to achieve greater influence over our future”.

The history of our Alberni Valley is being preserved thanks to the dedicated and professional work of a group of devoted volunteers who work in the archives in the Alberni Valley Museum.

In order to learn more about the archives, we recently paid a visit to the museum, home of the Alberni District Historical Society. The society, which now counts more than 30 members, was established in 1965. This is where the historical archives are kept and preserved by a group of more than 20 volunteers, who meet in two groups twice a week. This past year more than 2,000 volunteer hours were logged in.

The Alberni District Historical Society manages the archive collection—valuable records of the past that tell the story of our community. Volunteers acquire and preserve the community’s paper treasures. This material includes documents, letters, microfilmed local newspapers dating back to 1907, early Canadian census reports, audio tapes, extensive newspaper clipping files, biographies, books and publications, and maps chiefly relating to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District area.

The City of Port Alberni provides the physical location at the museum for the filings and the place for the volunteers to perform their work. “We are the guardians of these records,” says one of its members. “We have eight filing cabinets with information on marriages, births, deaths, organizations, businesses etc. and enormous sliding storage units. In addition to those records, the cabinets also store many biographies and obituaries, more than 1,000 maps of our region, school registers which go back to 1912, and much more.

The acquisition of both public and private records is by donation, transfer, gift and bequest, to preserve and hold in trust for future generations. The public has access to the extensive collection. Knowledgeable volunteers are available to assist.

An important aspect of the archive staff is the Genealogy Club, which also operates with volunteers. The Genealogy Club is currently recording births, marriages and deaths from the local newspapers, dating back to 1907.

Local residents are welcome to add to the collection by bringing items for evaluation to the archive volunteers on their meeting days, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Archives may also be viewed by appointment – call 720-2863 (ext. 267) or e-mail aadhs1@gmail.com.

The historical society holds frequent meetings in the museum with guest speakers. The public is welcome to attend these informative and interesting evenings.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Some of the volunteers who take care of the Alberni District Historical Archives are, clockwise from top left, Jane McMillan, Candra Holmes, Maxine Munsil, Marlene Dietrich, Diane Dobson and Gareth Flostrand. (ORLANDO DELANO PHOTO)

Just Posted

’We’ve been dealing with racism all our lives,’ says family of Tla-o-qui-aht woman fatally shot by police

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

What recycling goes where in the ACRD? There’s going to be an app for that

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District hopes residents will use app once it’s developed

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Most Read