Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/11/2014 (971 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A community hospital’s history is now professionally preserved and available to the public.
Seven Oaks General Hospital (SOGH), in partnership with its library — operated by the University of Manitoba — and the U of M Faculty of Medicine Archives has digitized and catalogued over 3000 historical photographs on a new website, www.umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/health/archives/SOGH_archives.html
Funded by grants from the Winnipeg Foundation and the province’s Heritage Grants Program, the photos encompass SOGH’s entire history, even prior to the hospital’s opening in 1981.
"While this is the youngest of the hospitals in Winnipeg, it’s drenched in history and it has always been conscious of that," said Toby Maloney, SOGH public relations manager.
"I think that’s because the hospital came out of a long and persistent grassroots demand from the residents of north Winnipeg. Even back in the ’50s there were people working, lobbying, trying to convince the government that this area of the city needed its own hospital."
Maloney, who has worked at SOGH since 2001, said the photo archive project started a year and a half ago after construction at the hospital forced the movement of some archival materials. Maloney took the photos to SOGH librarian Kerry Macdonald, who connected the hospital with U of M medical archivist Jordan Bass.
Bass, who worked on the project alongside archival student Elizabeth-Anne Johnson, said he was impressed by the content of the photos. He said SOGH’s commitment to community is evident in the images. For example there are photos of the construction and opening of SOGH’s Wellness Institute in 1996, but there are also photos from hospital fundraising efforts, and even Christmas and Halloween events.
"It wasn’t just photos of architecture and physicians, it was patients, it was volunteers, it was support staff and it was the broader community. It was very unique," Bass said.
"History about health or medicine in Manitoba is typically top-down, focusing on the physicians and surgeons and the people who built the facility, and it’s rare that you see something from the everyday perspective."
Bass said the website, which also includes two histories of the hospital, one written in 1982 and one written in 2008, is an example of what he calls "participatory archiving." Visitors to the website are encouraged to leave comments and name the people and places in the photos, as well as the dates the photos were taken.
"That was the reason we went with the blog format. We had all these photos but there was nothing written on the backs," Bass said.
"We had an open house last Thursday (Nov. 13) and people were in there looking at the photos and using iPads and you could hear them talking ‘Oh, that’s so and so.’ So the big push now is to get these people to go online and add in information in the comment section."