Thursday, 18 April 2019

Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives DHCP Funded Project

The following is an extract from a 16 April AMBA press release giving details on one of the 12 Ontario Documentary Heritage Communities Program projects funded by the LAC for 2019-20.

ARNPRIOR, ON— The Ottawa Valley has a deep and rich history linked to the lumbering industry and one of the most influential people from that era was Daniel McLachlin. McLachlin was a lumber baron, entrepreneur and politician. He is considered by many to be the true founder of the Town of Arnprior.

As part of its mandate to acquire, preserve and make accessible important historical documents relating to our local region, the Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives (AMBA) is launching a new project to explore McLachlin’s legacy. The project will digitize and provide online access to the historic letters, ledgers, maps, plans and images from that era. From shanty accounts to personal correspondence, we will shed light on the life and activities of one of Arnprior's most influential residents.

Funding for this project comes from the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP) of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). The DHCP provides $1.5 million annually to support projects by archives, libraries and documentary heritage institutions throughout Canada. AMBA will receive $49,568 in 2019-2020 for its project Daniel McLachlin's Legacy: Exploring the Lumber Era of the Ottawa Valley.

Work will begin shortly with the goal to finish in Winter/Spring 2020. A launch date for the online material will be announced closer to the completion of the project.

I spoke to Emma Carey, AMBA Archivist to find out more details. The project will digitize and provide online access to the historic letters, ledgers, maps, plans and images from approximately 1852 to 1929. Besides protecting the delicate originals from further handling, it will provide access to rare documents of the timber industry. These include a 1890/91 shanty accounts ledger; a circa 1900 manuscript on life in the lumber camps with 80+ images; timber limit maps; and plans of piers, mills, railways, and a log slide. McLachlin’s 600+ letters from 1834 to 1857 provide insight into both the business and personal life of this community leader.

While some of the digitization will be outsourced much of the delicate and oversize material will be processed within the archives by community volunteers using newly purchased equipment. The AMBA website will be updated to create more dynamic user experiences. This will include an image zoomer (for looking closely at large digitized maps); a map feature to link photographs and documents with geographical locations and, a flipbook viewer for more easily viewing the manuscript and ledger books.

Questions and comments on the project may be forwarded to:
Emma Carey
Consulting Archivist
Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives

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