Archives Awareness Week 2022 - no tours yet, but try…archival shelf bingo!

Shelf 20-B6 in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Archives.

Ontario celebrates Archives Awareness Week each year during the first full week of April. Archives often open their doors for behind-the-scenes tours during this awareness-building week. Unfortunately, Ingenium’s Library and Archives are still not fully open yet due to our collections move and the Covid-19 pandemic.

So I asked myself: how can we recreate the spontaneity and whimsy of an in-person tour online? The answer….archival shelf bingo! During tours, people often randomly spot something of interest and ask about it as they travel through our storage depots. To recreate this feeling, I gave my colleagues some shelf and cabinet ranges. They chose their numbers within those ranges without referring to our inventory records of what the ranges hold. Down below, you can decide for yourself if the number they chose had a bingo. If you’d like to play along, please follow @SciTechArchives and @IngeniumCa on Twitter on April 7 for archival shelf bingo at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM) Library and Archives, or April 8 for a game at the Canada Science and Technology Museum Library and Archives (Ingenium Centre).

A colour photograph shows a file folder with the title “Cunningham. Cdn. James Nelson.”  Three slips of paper are visible, including one handwritten note with the following words in capital letters “WOUNDED, ENGINE SMASHED.”

A file on Lieutenant James Nelson Cunninham from the Harry Creagan Fonds.

Archives Clerk Sian Jones’s choice at CASM, 20-B-6, has some great boxes from the Harry Creagan Fonds (see main image above). A bingo for sure! Creagan was a specialist in First World War aviation and the fonds includes correspondence from the 1960s between him and surviving airmen. The second photograph shows a file on James Nelson Cunningham from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He was a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps who died from injuries sustained in air battle. Creagan collected a clipping and saved some handwritten notes on Cunningham.

Colour photo shows the drawer of a black flat-storage or map cabinet extended.  In the drawer is a technical drawing of a bandmill double cutting saw.

Drawer D-2-4 in the Ingenium Centre holds Waterous Engine Works drawings.

Assistant Archivist Marcia Mordfield’s choice for the Ingenium Centre, D-2-4, led me to a drawer in a flat-storage cabinet. Bingo! The drawer has drawings from the Roy Belshaw Waterous Collection. Waterous Engine Works in Brantford, Ontario, built steam engines and other equipment for the agriculture and pulp and paper industries. The drawing in the photo is a 1929 assembly drawing, side and end elevations, for a bandmill double cutting saw made for Fraser Cos Ltd in Edmunston, New Brunswick.

Colour photograph showing white boxes on shelves in a vertical bay of shelves.  The closest box has “Major Capital Jobs 63” handwritten on it in pencil.

Shelf G-118-D at the Ingenium Centre holds boxes from our Domtar - E.B. Eddy – J.R. Booth Collection.

Digital Content Officer Kristy Von Moos’s choice for the Ingenium Centre was also a bingo. The shelf she chose has the last boxes from the Domtar-E.B. Eddy-J.R. Booth Collection Major Capital Jobs series. These files deal with major expenditures at the Domtar Ottawa-Hull plant from roughly the 1980s to the early 1990s. The files need to be rehoused in archival-grade boxes and file folders and a formal label for the box will be a nice addition when the other work is done.

Colour photograph showing file folders in an open box with their titles showing.

Looking in box 63 of the Major Capital Jobs series.

In box 63, I spotted this interesting file title: Japan Visit. Domtar staff went on tours to visit pulp and paper making companies, sometimes in different countries, in order to evaluate how equipment they were considering for purchase was working at these plants and to see where competitors were innovating. Another interesting file title: Effluent Secondary Treatment System. Domtar and its immediate predecessor at the Ottawa-Hull location, E.B. Eddy, made significant investments in projects to upgrade equipment over time in order to address regulatory requirements for environmental protection.

A colour photograph shows a mostly empty shelf in a vertical bay of shelves.  The shelf does have three packages of metal shelf dividers bundled in plastic.

Not a bingo!

Assistant Archivist Marcia Mordfield’s had bad numbers for CASM…definitely not a bingo. Her choice was an empy shelf with some shelf dividers!

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Adele Torrance

 Adele Torrance is the Archivist at Ingenium - Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation.