Most Canadians who were around in the 1980s have vivid memories of the so-called Canadian Caper, an audacious rescue of six U.S. diplomats during the Iran hostage crisis.

The 1980 escape was a real-life thriller set during the Iranian Revolution, and has been chronicled by both Hollywood and television producer Les Harris for CBC. 

Diplomat Ken Taylor, credited as the mastermind of the operation, was treated as a hero both in Canada and the U.S. in the years after the escape. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1980, and died of cancer in Oct. 2015.

Piece of modern Canadian history

Harris's film reels, photographs, audio recordings and transcripts have been acquired by the Canadian Museum of History for its national collection, and will be made available to researchers and academics.

'Collecting contemporary Canadian history is an essential part of the museum's mandate for the present and into the future.' - Jean-Marc Blais

"Collecting contemporary Canadian history is an essential part of the museum's mandate for the present and into the future," said Jean-Marc Blais, director general of the museum. "The Les Harris Collection will be made available to researchers and academics who want to study Canada's role on the international scene in recent years, particularly at a time when our country took a substantial risk to make a real difference."

Les Harris collection

Promotional poster for the 1981 documentary film Escape from Iran: The Inside Story. (Museum of Canadian History)

The documents and footage include rare interviews with the escapees and their Canadian helpers shortly after they fled Iran, according to the museum. Harris collected the interviews and photographs for his 1981 documentary Escape from Iran: The Inside Story, as well as another documentary and a made-for-television movie. 

Some of Harris's research was also used in Argo, the 2012 Oscar-winning movie starring Ben Affleck.