Preserving provincial provenance

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ST. BONIFACE

History has countless layers.

And local historians and archivists working with material from the pre-digital age know how important it is for it to be housed in an environment that’s well-suited to preserving some of the province’s most precious provenance.

Janet La France, the directrice générale of the Centre du patrimoine, is seen here in this 2021 file photo. Upgrades to the centre’s vaults — where temperature and climate control and air flow are crucial to help the many historical documents housed at the centre — are set to place next year.

During the summer, the provincial government announced a round of funding for several organizations through the Building Sustainable Communities and the Urban and Hometown Green Team projects that support bilingual communities throughout Manitoba.

The list included funding of up to $75,000 to the Société historique de Saint-Boniface to support facility upgrades. Janet La France, the directrice générale of the Centre du patrimoine (340 Provencher Blvd.), which is managed by the society, said the investment is the latest of a number at the provincial and federal levels. The facility has also done its own fundraising.

According to its website, the centre is an archives and research organization that’s mainly devoted to preserving and making accessible archives that document the francophone and Métis experience in Western Canada, especially Manitoba. It houses archival collections, a reference library containing nearly 13,000 titles, and genealogical resources.

La France — who replaced longtime former director Gilles Lesage in the role last year — said some of the funds will be used to upgrades the centre’s vaults, where temperature and climate control and air flow are crucial to help the many historical documents housed at the centre. The upgrades are provisionally slated to be done in early 2023, she said.

“We’re pretty excited to have the new machines,” La France said. “This means another 30 to 35 years life for the archives. The funding is a financial weight off our shoulders. This represents significant upgrades, and we’re so grateful.

“This gives us continuity and peace of mind to keep preserving the archives without having this worry hanging over us. Some items in the archive are 200 years old. These items talk of our history, our past, our origins.”

Go online at shsb.mb.ca for more information.

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at simon.fuller@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7111.

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