By Rod Chapman
The Kimberley Nature Park Society (KNPS) has completed a year-long project to preserve and digitize its archival collection of documents, photos, maps and correspondence dating back to 1987, and public access to this material will be provided through the Kimberley Heritage Museum.
“We believe the results of our work will be a valuable addition to the Kimberley historical record,” says Kent Goodwin, outgoing president of the Nature Park Society. “This project was funded in part by the Columbia Basin Trust and Heritage BC through the Built Heritage Grants, and we would like to express our sincere appreciation to these organizations for their support of this important initiative.”
Under the direction of Goodwin, who has been president of the Society since 1999, planning for the archive project began in spring 2018 when Heritage BC grant funding was secured. Volunteers conducted a number of preliminary sorting sessions to weed out duplicates and irrelevant documents. A newspaper article published in the Kimberley Bulletin in July 2018 helped to uncover additional archival documents, and over the summer months society volunteers sorted the entire collection into 17 categories organized by year.
Categories included such topics as correspondence, meeting minutes, event promotion, interface fire management, and policy discussions. Eight issues and events were identified that may be of interest to researchers, including KNPS involvement in the Forest Crowne housing development, Trickle Creek golf course, logging activities, creation of the KNPS management plan, and formation of the Horse Barn Valley Interpretive Forest. In addition to the paper files, digital files dating back 10 years (with some from as far back as 1999) were included in the initial assessment.
In September, two neatly sorted file folder boxes were delivered to Nicole Tremblay, a Nelson-based project archivist working on contract with the Society. Tremblay began her work in fall 2018 with an initial review of the hard copy documents and the electronic flash drive. Over the fall and winter months she catalogued the documents, eliminated duplication, prepared a finding aid to assist with document retrieval, and scanned the entire collection onto a 4-terabyte external hard drive.
“The organization that the Nature Park Society provided has been a huge benefit to working with the archive. It will also prove to be a benefit to the people who access the files in the future, as the main activities and projects are defined by the people who were involved,” says Tremblay.
Using the initial KNPS organizational strategy, Tremblay formulated an arrangement system for documents, photographs and files dating back to 1987. Each document was assessed for relevance and quality, assigned a category and file number, scanned, and saved as a searchable PDF file. Photographs were sorted by activity, area and date, if known. Where possible all records were sorted by date, and each record includes a brief description of the scope and content.
“Kimberley has had many organizations over the years who are all but forgotten, as there was no preservation of their activities in an archive,” says Kimberley Heritage Museum administrator Marie Stang. “Having the Kimberley Nature Park Society archive donated to the museum is invaluable, as it provides information for researchers and for future generations who will be the next stewards of the Nature Park.”
The Nature Park Society archive will be publicly accessible in the Kimberley Heritage Museum beginning in June 2019.