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Women sawing a log and splitting firewood, ca. 1950s, Cortes Bay  CIMAS item 1999.001.0648
General News · 30th March 2021
Valerie Wernet
The Cortes Island Museum & Archives is excited to announce the launch of our brand new Online Archives! Over 4,000 digitized records from our collection are now searchable and viewable for free. These include photographs, slides, oral history interviews and PDF history albums dating from the late 1800s to the present. In addition, users can search the museum's entire archival database online to see descriptions of all our archival records.

Rural museums are important sites for preserving community history, sharing memories, and learning from the past. While in many ways the community has spent the last year apart, weíre excited to bring this hub of community connection online!

Increased access

One of the primary goals of moving the museumís photographs online was to increase access to collections. The remoteness of our community is something many of us hold dear, but it means that many people with connection to or interest in our community have barriers to museum holdings. This includes students studying off island, researchers, folks who grew up here and now live elsewhere, and people with other genealogical connections to this place. Our Online Archives makes Cortes Islandís history much more widely available.

Increased participation

For Cortes Island Museum and Archives, the benefits of digitization go beyond increased access. The Online Archives are more interactive. Users are able to share photos via social media and email, as well as provide feedback or comment to the museum about individual images. Community input has always been an important source of information about the collection.

Comments and conversations on our popular Facebook and Instagram accounts have illustrated how eager folks are to help identify the people and structures in historic photographs. Weíll now be able to connect with a much wider range of people. At the bottom of this article, we've shared a post that exemplifies the power of digitization. Check out the comments!

How we got here

The dream of the Online Archives has been in the works since late 2019, tirelessly project-managed by Jill Milton. The digitization of over 4,000 photographs and the creation of the Online Archives were funded by a grant from Library and Archives Canada. The interface was created by Andornot Consulting, with consultation from the core project team: Jill Milton, Donna McLaren & Valerie Wernet. Scanning was completed by Maeve LeDuc and Valerie Wernet.

Using the Online Archives
Ready to take a look? The Online Archives are easy to find, via the banner on the museum's main site or directly at Collections.CortesMuseum.com. The search box is prominently displayed, and works much like a library catalog search Ė one can search names, places and subjects. Searches can also be limited by date of material. For users without a specific topic in mind, the Quick Start links on the front page allow immediate browsing. Click around, follow your curiosity, and donít forget to send us feedback if you have it.

We acknowledge the support of Library and Archives Canada / Nous reconnaissons l'appui de Bibliotheque et Archives Canada
A photo of the late Meg Shaw, shared on the museum's Instagram account, brought back memories for some folks!
A photo of the late Meg Shaw, shared on the museum's Instagram account, brought back memories for some folks!
Crowd of people standing on the government dock at Mansonís Landing, ca. 1920s  CIMAS item 2007.001.064
Crowd of people standing on the government dock at Mansonís Landing, ca. 1920s CIMAS item 2007.001.064
Singing society at Gorge Hall(?), ca, 1976-1978  CIMAS item 2019.003.133
Singing society at Gorge Hall(?), ca, 1976-1978 CIMAS item 2019.003.133