Archives Awareness Week 2021

Spring is here and what a fabulous way to celebrate the new season than by celebrating the amazing archival collections in our communities. The Archives Association of Ontario has designated this week, April 5th to 9th, as Archives Awareness Week in Ontario. It is a week for those of us in the archival field to share with the public some of the amazing items we are privileged to work with on a daily basis.

This year, much like last year, sees many local archives closed to visitors and researchers. While our sites may be closed to the public, we are working hard behind the scenes to make our collections accessible during this challenging time. While the doors have been closed, archivist in our communities have been creating online exhibits from their collections, they have been working to digitize and make available online aspects of their collections and they have been speaking to groups small and large via Zoom or WEBEX.

We thought Archives Awareness Week would be the perfect time to highlight some of the amazing work local archives have created during the pandemic.

Clarington Museums and Archives has launched their brand new Virtual Museum. This site provides the visitor with links to all of their new online exhibits and resources. They have even created a virtual version of their extremely popular Spirit Walk. This interactive map will “walk” you through local ghost stories from the comfort of your living room. Click here to visit their Virtual Museum.

The Archives at the Whitby Public Library launched a virtual exhibit highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on their community. The exhibit was part of a larger project focused on collecting images, documents and items that will tell this history of the pandemic from the perspective of Whitby residents. Click here to visit their Whitby COVID-19 Stories exhibit.

The Oshawa Museum shifted gears when their site had to close to the public and launched three new online exhibits. These exhibits focused on a variety of topics, from COVID-19 in Oshawa, to the 100th Anniversary of Lakeview Park and a virtual walking tour of the history of Downtown Oshawa. All of their online exhibits and resources can be found on their newly revamped Oshawa Museum website.

The Oshawa Public Libary Local History Room updated and expanded access to their digital collection of books and pamphlets that are now a part of the Internet Archives. Of particular interest to researchers is their collection of City of Oshawa Directories. These directories are a gold mine for researchers, providing information on where a person lived, what they did for a living and how often they may, or may not, have moved. Check out the city directories, and other resources, here.

The Pickering Public Library continued to add to their Local History Digital Archive. The site provides online access to documents, photographs and newspapers that help researchers. The online collection has provided access to researchers during the pandemic and shared the collection with both local researchers and those from far away. Click here to search their online archive.

The Northumberland County Archives and Museum continued to make their collection accessible online through Archeion. Archeion is Ontario’s Archival Information Network. The database is an online research tool the provides researchers with access to descriptions of archival records held by member institutions of the Archives Association of Ontario. Check out the records of the Northumberland County Archives and Museum here.

The Port Hope Archives ensured that their researchers could continue learning about their collections by developing a wide variety of online exhibits. From their History Video Series, to their As I Will It exhibit, the archives worked to provide access to their collection throughout the pandemic. The As I Will It exhibit examines the difference between a probate and a will and highlights some of the important information you can find in a probate. Check out the exhibit here.

These are just a few of the ways that archives in our community have worked behind the scene during this pandemic. If you have examples of the ways other local archives are working to share the collections during this time, please email Jennifer at and we will be more than happy to share their work throughout the week.


About durhamregionareaarchivesgroup

DRAAG is the professional group for archives and repositories of the local history of Durham Region and surrounding areas.
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