Archives Tour a chance to see inner workings of Historical Museum

Michael Oleksy/Daily Herald Prince Albert Historical Museum volunteer Ken Guedo leads a party on a tour of the Bill Smiley Archives for Archives Week on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Local residents had a chance to immerse themselves in the past thanks to the Prince Albert Historical Society.

The society opened up the Bill Smiley Archives for public tours on Saturday, Feb. 4 in anticipation of Archives Week, which runs from Feb. 5-11.

Feb. 4 Historical Society President Fred Payton and archives volunteer Ken Guedo offered tours of the Archives in the Prince Albert Historical Museum’s basement.

Payton said he and Guedo work fairly closely together in the Archives.

“When we were talking about doing something for Archives week, we thought we might do is do a tour of the archives, (and) let people know what we have,” Payton explained. “(It shows) the kinds of things that we can research on their behalf and tell a few stories about some of the interesting things that we have had to do.”

Payton said the tour was an expression of what Archives Week is all about. He said residents aren’t always aware of what’s in the archives, and this week is designed to change that.

“(It’s) also to encourage people, if they have information to pass it on to us,” he added. “(It’s) not necessarily for us to keep. For example, if there’s a photo, we can scan the photo and archive it. If there’s a story of some sort, we can copy the story and archive and keep that information here for future reference.”

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Prince Albert Historical Society President Fred Payton led one part of the Archive Tour for Archives Week on Saturday, Feb. 3.

During the tour, Guedo walked people through the photos, maps, newspapers and other parts while Payton toured the library and research aspects of the Bill Smiley Archives.

“Interestingly enough, we have over 200,000 negatives from the Daily Herald,” Guedo said. “I haven’t counted them myself, but I’m told that there are only 2,000 negatives of photographs from the Daily Herald. We have, of course, all those Daily Herald’s (and) we have the Henderson’s Directories, which have been very, very helpful.”

Payton said the archives can serve many purposes. The Prince Albert Police Service once came to the Museum looking for a business on a particular street that existed many years ago. Payton was able to locate it using the Henderson’s Directories. Henderson’s Directories, which list many aspects of city life including names and addresses, were discontinued in 2001 when privacy laws changed. The Archives also include yearbooks from all of the schools in Prince Albert.

People can research in the Archives, there is no cost but a donation is encouraged.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Fred Payton and Ken Guedo talked about the Bill Smiley Archives as e part of the Archive Tour for Archives Week on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Prince Albert Historical Museum.

“Sometimes people come in and they want to see a picture of dad when he was in grade 9 and your mom when she was a hippie child, you know, those kinds of things,” Payton said. “It’s always interesting to read what their fellow students had written about them in the verbs they have in the yearbooks.”

Following the tour, Guedo and Payton shared some stories about the work of the archives.

The next event for the Museum is a Coffee and Conversation on Feb. 23 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the History of the Prince Albert Winter Carnival, hosted by Payton.

To pre-register call the Museum at 306-764-2992.