Yukon Archives opens doors to public with 'Archives À La Carte'

The Whitehorse facility is opening its doors to the public on Thursday evening for something called "Archives À La Carte."

Thursday event is 'a really great behind-the-scenes opportunity,' said archivist

'Each one of these documents has the potential to tell so many different stories,' said archivist Chelsea Jeffery. (Dave White/CBC)

If you've ever wondered what was happening outside the frame of an historic photograph, the Yukon Archives has an event for you.

The Whitehorse facility is opening its doors to the public on Thursday evening for something called "Archives À La Carte."

The Yukon Archives has a wealth of historic photos, including this one of Alex Van Bibber, Curly Desrosiers and Harry Cooper prospecting in the Firth River area in 1948. (Yukon Archives)

"It's a really great behind-the-scenes opportunity," said Chelsea Jeffery, a reference archivist at the Yukon Archives. "It's sort of an à la carte menu of the different records and collections and donors."

The idea is to allow Yukoners to find out more about who uses the public archives, and where all the photos, documents, maps and other historic records have come from.

Visitors will have a chance to talk to and ask questions of people such as Pearl Keenan, a Teslin elder who has donated many old photographs to the archives.

"You can come to the archives and I can show you some photos," Jeffery said, "but I can't give you those amazing stories that are behind the photographs."

A weather logbook from the White Pass railway. Researchers have used such records to study climate history. (Dave White/CBC)

People such as Keenan "will be able to tell you, 'this is what was happening in this image, this is who this person is, this is what they meant to me'," she said.

The Thursday event will also involve researchers who use the archives for their work. For example, meteorologist Bob Sagar will talk about how he's gleaned climate data from century-old sternwheeler logbooks.

"Each one of these documents has the potential to tell so many different stories," Jeffery said.

"Archives À La Carte" begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, at the Yukon Archives in Whitehorse.   

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