Nova Scotia

Inverness County committee aims to create municipal archives

An ongoing effort in Inverness County to save precious historical documents is seeking to move those materials, many of which are tucked away in people's homes, into an environmentally-controlled facility.

Project would complete Inverness County Development Plan

Documents now housed in people's homes and the Nova Scotia Archives will be housed in a new municipal archives if an Inverness County committee gets its way. (Submitted by Chestico Museum)

An ongoing effort in Inverness County to save precious historical documents is seeking to move those materials, many of which are tucked away in people's homes, into an environmentally controlled facility.

The concept is being spearheaded by an archives committee devoted to raising money for the project from all three levels of government.

The committee includes members of the Chestico Museum in Port Hood. John Gillies, a founding member of the museum, says the project is the third part of the Inverness County Development Plan. 

The arts portion of the plan called for the formation of three institutions: the Strathspey Place Performing Arts Centre and the Inverness County Centre for the Arts have both been built; the municipal archives is still outstanding.  

"The Chestico Museum picked this up eight or nine years ago," Gillies told CBC Cape Breton's Information Morning, adding that the archives committee has redoubled its efforts of late.

The Chestico Museum in Port Hood has joined the effort to bring a municipal archives to Inverness County. (Submitted by Chestico Museum)

A county archives, he said, could be a repository for a number of things.

"It could be older letters, reports, diaries, ledgers, old newspapers, maps, drawings, scrapbooks, photographs, original records that tell the history of our county," he said.

Among the documents he has in mind are copies of The Port Hood Referee, a newspaper published between 1882 and 1884.

They are available at the Nova Scotia Archives, and would be sent to a new Inverness archive facility when it's built.  

In fact, all documents of a regional nature must be forwarded from the provincial archives to local archival facilities, in accordance with legislation enacted in 1998 by the province.

Gillies also referred to other newspapers from the early 1900s, such as The Port Hood Greeting and The Inverness County Guardian, which could be housed locally.

Gillies said the "base cost" for a climate-controlled archive facility would be $750,000. It has not been decided if it will be a stand-alone building, or one to be shared among other organizations.

While waiting for a funding commitment from the municipality, the province and federal government, he said progress has been made towards acquiring land for the project near the provincial day park in Port Hood.    

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