Brandon University will house decades of Brandon Sun community photo archives

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The S.J. McKee Archives at Brandon University is the new home of a vast photo collection from the Brandon Sun archives.

The collection includes more than 50,000 photographic negatives that span decades from the 1970s to the early 2000s and its acquisition will ensure the preservation and eventual public access to visual records that document the people and places of the Westman region.

“This is another link in the historic relationship between Brandon University and The Brandon Sun,” said University Archivist Christy Henry. “The McKee Archives is the central site of memory, and the photographic archive, for the city and the southwestern region of Manitoba. This is a crucial addition to the memory resources we hold.”

The new photo collection is perhaps the largest ever brought in by the McKee Archives, and was necessitated after the Sun moved to new offices in downtown Brandon.

“The Brandon Sun has been fortunate to be at the forefront of daily news and events coverage in western Manitoba over the last 140 years, providing a written record of our community on a daily basis,” said Brandon Sun Editor Matt Goerzen. “On such an important anniversary, we have the honour of further preserving a great portion of our photographic legacy, and still further, to have it opened up to the wider public through the McKee Archives at Brandon University.”

“We have seen firsthand the value that the McKee Archives hold for research an historical analysis, and we’re honoured to be able to give back through the donation of our photographic archives.”

A small sampling from the historical photos is on display in the Gathering Space of the John E. Robbins Library at BU during Homecoming weekend, and Henry says the long-term goal will be to research and describe each one, then digitize, preserve, and share the photos with the public.

“This is an enormous task, as each photo will have to be researched and described both as a photo and as a physical item, and the number of items in the collection is so vast,” Henry said. “It’s a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with this work on behalf of the Brandon Sun and the community.”

The new acquisition complements existing collections, including the Lawrence Stuckey collection, the CKX fonds and the Fred McGuinness collection.

“The Brandon Sun photo collection adds vital new elements to our holdings, and also helps preserve the history of our area,” Henry said. “Working with members of the community, ensuring the preservation and eventual access to records that document the people and places of the region are essential functions of the archives and also key parts of the University’s new strategic plan.”


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