ARCHIVES WEEK 2003
Michael Gourlie, ASA Executive Director
This year's Archives Week marked a new beginning for the Alberta archival community with the opening of a new provincial archives facility. The facility opening event, along with ASA's traditional kick-off evening, made for a memorable celebration of Alberta archives and archivists.
Archives Week began with the official opening of the new facility for the Provincial Archives of Alberta on October 5th . Held on a sunny autumn afternoon, the event drew approximately 450 guests, including Premier Ralph Klein, provincial cabinet ministers, local politicians, archivists from across Alberta and western Canada, as well as members of the public with a special interest in the celebration of the archives' new home.
After the crowd was called to attention by the strains of traditional bagpipe music, the event began with a welcoming speech by Dr. Bill Byrne of Alberta Community Development. Colleen Klein, chair of the Alberta 100th Anniversary Strategy Committee, spoke of her interest and commitment to creating a new home for Alberta's documentary heritage as part of upcoming provincial centennial celebrations. Gene Zwozdesky, the Minister of Community Development, discussed the value of archives and his pleasure at opening such an impressive facility in his own riding! The speeches concluded with Ty Lund, Minister of Infrastructure, who acknowledged those who contributed so much to completing the building. At the conclusion of the speeches, dignitaries cut the ribbon to officially open the building and tours were scheduled for the remainder of the day. For press coverage of the opening, go to www.canada.com/edmonton/ and use the term "provincial archives" in the site's search engine. To view images of the building, visit the PAA website at www.cd.gov.ab.ca/paa.
The following evening, the ASA held its Archives Week kick-off event at the new PAA. Following a dinner in the new exhibit area, the guests assembled in the reading room for a speech by Fraser Brinsmead of Brinsmead Ziola Associates, the architect of the new building. His speech, "The Art of the Retrofit," discussed the process of the building conversions that resulted in both the City of Edmonton Archives facility at the Prince of Wales Armoury as well as the new Provincial Archives building. His speech touched on the practical aspects of retrofitting but also revealed philosophical considerations to the plan of the facilities, suggesting that the role of archives in society and even archival principles influenced the design of the structure.
The evening continued with tours of the new PAA facility and the debut of this year's virtual exhibit, If these Walls Could Talk: Celebrating Alberta's Built Heritage, which featured a record number of submissions from the ASA's institutional members. With a blueprint as its backdrop, the exhibit features a variety of demolished, imagined and existing buildings throughout Alberta. Once again, Alberta's archival repositories came together to provide interesting and thought-provoking content from their holdings. To view this year's exhibit, follow the link from the ASA main page: http://www.archivesalberta.org/walls/splash.htm. To visit all past Archives Week virtual exhibits from 1997 onwards, as well as additional virtual exhibits from other Alberta archives: http://www.archivesalberta.org/exhibits.htm.
The ASA evening event concluded with Jo-Ann Munn Gafuik, ASA president, presenting Provincial Archivist Dr. Sandra Thomson, with a plaque, modeled after a plaque featured in the new lobby of the PAA, in honour of her ongoing support for the ASA, the province's archival community and the preservation of Alberta's documentary heritage.