Barber Funds Help The Reach Team Digitize Abbotsford’s History

By May 17, 2014Arts/Culture

Submitted. The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford team is off to another productive year of digitizing Abbotsford’s rich history thanks to a $6,000 grant from the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, BC History Digitization Program.

Pictured at right: Kilgard Fire Brick plant from current exhibition, History Through The Lens:The Leonard Frank Studio. credit: The Reach P1363

“This funding, the fifth in as many years from I.K. Barber, is significant to preserving our diverse and unique local history for current and future generations,” says Kris Foulds, collections manager at The Reach. “It allows us to digitize an additional 3,000 historic images from a collection donated to us by the Abbotsford News and should bring the total of publicly-accessible images to 24,000 by February 2015.”

Add Simon Neame, Director and Chris Hives, Project Manager at Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia Library, “We are happy to support The Reach Gallery Museum in their efforts to digitize the Abbotsford News photograph collection, part of the Abbotsford Living History Project. The Reach has made a significant contribution to the digitization of historic B.C. photographs. These images will be of high interest to community members and researchers throughout British Columbia and beyond.”

The Reach Archives is the only source of the Abbotsford News images and the only online photo archives in Abbotsford. The News does not maintain an image archive but has instead entrusted The Reach to conserve and share these images with the public. As the longest extant community newspaper, the Abbotsford News’ photographers have chronicled the city’s history for over 90 years, and documented the changes, challenges and triumphs of Abbotsford.

Explains Foulds, “As we continued to digitize the photos over the years, we have experienced an increased awareness of the site, the photo-archival collection and the opportunity to acquire and preserve the material culture of the community. We work regularly with community partners who conduct research or start community projects that chronicle our history, and we collaborate with local media on requests for images.”

Artist sketching at Sumas Lake, March 1916. credit: The Reach P5665

Artist sketching at Sumas Lake, March 1916.
credit: The Reach P5665

Digitization has created a dialogue between images and context presented with knowledge and information held within, as well outside, the community. The digitized historical images have been used by local authors, for collector car show awards, and just recently, by one Abbotsford’s most popular family restaurants for their new sports lounge and the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association for its street banners. The Reach utilizes images regularly in its heritage exhibits and complements them with pieces from its material culture collection of 5,000 plus artefacts.

The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford (at 32388 Veterans Way) is a Class A art gallery and museum committed to preserving and sharing the stories of our rich and diverse cultural heritage and showcasing the best in visual the arts from both inside and outside the community.

Leave a Reply