Search the Archives

Whether or not you realize it, you probably have an archives in your home. It might be in a filing cabinet in the study, a box in the basement, that stash of emails you just can’t delete – or even in all three. This is your personal archives: a collection of material that records important events from your, or your family’s, history.

Believe it or not, there are similarities between your family’s archives and local, provincial, or national archives. All save items to serve as proof that an event occurred, to explain how something happened, or for financial or sentimental reasons. Letters from relatives, your grandmother’s diary, photos and videos of you and your friends, and other material collected over the years provides vital and unique information about your life or the history of your family. Obviously these items are important to you. But they also may be important to your community, province, or country, too. Whether or not members of your family attained a degree of fame, they have contributed to the heritage of a certain place and time. When you donate your personal or family papers to an archives, your family history becomes a part of your community’s – and Canada’s – collective memory.

And just as you have criteria by which you would choose to add something to your personal archives, so too, an archives collects materials according to a specific mandate- such as documenting a community or business, an individual’s life’s work, an ideal, or to reflect government policies. UNBC’s Northern BC Archives & Special Collections has its own unique dualistic mandate which is:

  • to serve the historical, administrative, legal and teaching needs of the University of Northern British Columbia; and
  • to acquire, preserve and provide access to materials which document the history and cultures of Northern British Columbia

The following links will provide you with to some basic information to help you care for your own archives:

  1. "How to Preserve Family Papers and Photographs" – US National Archives and Records Administration
  2. “Caring for your own records” – The National Archives, United Kingdom
  3. “Caring for your photographs” - The National Archives, United Kingdom
  4. “Caring for your books” – The National Archives, United Kingdom
  5. “Caring for your art prints” – The National Archives, United Kingdom

Want more information on how to preserve your own archives? Contact the Archives for help.