The Salt Spring Island Archives began with a collection of records the Historical Society had accumulated and stored in a vault in the Acheson house. In 1989, the elderly Achesons had passed on and the family decided to sell the house, leaving the Society records without a secure home.
At that time Mary Davidson was president of the Salt Spring Island Historical Society and Peggy Tolson was vice-president. They heard of the Heritage Trust of British Columbia and decided to apply for a grant. They were astounded when they received $8000.00 with which to establish an archives.
At the next Historical Society meeting the grant and plans for the archives were announced. The membership was surprised to learn that they were the sponsor of an archives, but agreed to a motion by Sue Mouat that support be given. Davidson and Tolson were then accepted as volunteer archivists.
The Mary Hawkins Memorial Library granted permission for the Society to keep a filing cabinet for the records in a corner of the book repair room. A fireproof filing cabinet was purchased and some office furnishings such as a typewriter and stationary was stored with volunteer secretary, Agnes Cunningham.
In a joint venture with the Mary Hawkins Memorial Library, an undeveloped area in the excavation under the library was turned into a large room. A Windfall Grant of $30,000 and the expertise of Trish Morgan, then chair of the Mary Hawkins Memorial Library and architect, brought the project to fruition.
The archives was allotted a 10'X28' space at the inside end of the Windfall Room. Furniture was purchased, shelving installed and a new, more satisfacory filing cabinet procured. The secretary returned the typewriter and the archives opened for business.
Over the years the archives has survived he threat of floods, stemmed by fast action on the part of the library maintenance volunteers. High levels of dust from the removal of concrete walls for further library renovation, was overcome with a tremendous amount of careful cleaning. Now the archives remains in the clean, acid free, humididty controlled environment where it will be safe for years to come.
The archives is grateful to Society members who have volunteered to assist in the archives, including Sue Mouat, Anne Humphries, Charles Kahn, Judy Norget, Usha Rautenbach, Agnes Cunningham and Jan Dunn, as well as other interested persons who have contributed much time and effort, such as Ruth Sandwell,Wilf Allen and our devoted webmaster, Frank Neuman and his wife, Gail.
DRIFTWOOD May 31, 1989 Grant buys large vault for archives
Thank you, Usha. That article really took me back the the late 1980s
The Salt Spring Island Historical Society Archives is a non-profit, volunteer, community project.