A new South Central Regional Archives building is in the works in St. Claude, and will serve as a significant research tool for Portage la Prairie historian James Kostuchuk and others.
Kostuchuk says it's something that we really need in the area.
"They've been really helpful for local heritage projects," he adds. "So, this summer, they were able to get a couple of students to help us do archive work in the city. One of those students, Madison Poitras, wanted to get more of our photo archive from the collegiate online. Over the past couple of days, I started uploading her work. I've added 14,000 images to the Historical Photographs of Manitoba website hosted by the Manitoba Historical Society. We now have, I think, nearly 40,000 images of Portage la Prairie available and we're looking at adding thousands more."
He explains it's quite an achievement and has been done largely by high school students, some volunteers, and, at times, with support from the provincial government through heritage grants. Kostuchuk says this time, it was with the support of the Saint Claude Regional Archives.
"I believe, certainly in Manitoba, we have the largest repository of photographs outside of Winnipeg as a result, for sure," notes Kostuchuk. "It's a collection that's of national significance. And to be honest with you, I don't know how many images we have."
These photos they recently uploaded were from a short time period in the early 80s.
"We have photos from, certainly, a fairly complete collection from around 1952 to around the early 2000s," continues Kostuchuk. "It's a remarkable collection. It's an important one, too, because a lot of the media that we use isn't forever. Photo negatives are of that nature. Getting them digitized now is really the wise thing to do."
Kostuchuk explains earlier images from the 50s are already damaged due to vinegar syndrome, which basically is a degradation of the material on the film negative.
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