Is History Actually Boring?

My name is Heather – and I am a hist-oholic: give me kooky stuff about the days gone by and I’ll devour it. So I was a little disheartened when I heard how history is presented in such a boring and sanitized light in the current social studies curriculum.

Aside from digging history, I’m also a second-year student at the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. One of the courses students are offered is a practicum. Of course, due to my love of kooky local history, my first-choice placement was going to be a local archive. Though I’ve learned a lot on the information studies-side of things during the thirteen weeks I had been coming to the City of Edmonton Archives, what I had been most pleased to see is that history is never really boring.

My default search term for any search bar is “kitten.” When I was learning how to use the Archives online catalogue I came across this photo series of some men rescuing a kitten from the river. This moment was important enough to have a camera present: there is action, adventure, a happy ending and most importantly, a happy little kitten!
EA-600-2576aEA-600-2576b

 

EA-600-2576eEA-600-2576f

One of the projects I worked on was processing the Municipal Airport records. The words “Municipal Airport” aren’t too exciting, and it sounds pretty boring, but I swear that project was far from it! Once you got past the financial statements – and there are a lot of financial statements – there were some pretty neat documents.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Royal Visit Questionnaire from the Queen’s tour of Canada in 1959.

Introductory letter to an airport questionnaire for the 1959 Royal Visit - RG-2, Series 2, File 2

Introductory letter to an airport questionnaire for the 1959 Royal Visit – RG-2, Series 2, File 2

 

First page of an airport questionnaire for the 1959 Royal Visit – RG-2, Series 2, File 2

First page of an airport questionnaire for the 1959 Royal Visit – RG-2, Series 2, File 2

You know the Queen can’t stay just anywhere, and she has to get from the airport to her tours somehow – only the finest for Liz!

Second, and what really got me, were the brochures from Nik-o-lok : a company that specialized in pay-to-use washroom stalls.

Cover of a Nik-o-lok brochure – RG-2, Series 3, File 49

Cover of a Nik-o-lok brochure – RG-2, Series 3, File 49

Finally, I just wanted to share the design masterpiece that was Shell Oil’s sale receipts: aren’t they gorgeous?

Shell Oil sale receipt – RG-2, Series 1, Subseries 1.2, File 34

Shell Oil sale receipt – RG-2, Series 1, Subseries 1.2, File 34

Being a practicum student at the City of Edmonton Archives has been such a fun experience. Not only have I had a chance to see the work that goes into getting the above documents ready for y’all to see, but it has quenched my need – for the time being at least – for unique history. I am truly #blessed.

(1587)

Tweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on FacebookShare on LinkedIn
 
No Comments

LEAVE A COMMENT

Featured Posts