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Archives Awareness Week 2018

Originally posted March 29, 2018​

April 2, 2​018 – April 8, 2018 is Archives Awareness Week in Ontario. To celebrate, staff at Simcoe County Archives decided to shed some light on their roles and the day-to-day operations of the Archives.

Name: Matthew Fells

Matthew Fells

Title:   County Archivist

Job description: My role is to oversee and direct the acquisition, preservation, and accessibility of the documentary heritage of the County of Simcoe. In a nutshell, in consultation with knowledgeable, expert staff members, I guide the strategy and operations of the Archives. I also ensure that financial and material resources are available for staff projects, report to Council on Archives’ operations, and manage staff. My responsibilities include the operation of the Archives’ physical building and the health and safety of staff.

Favourite record, fonds or collection: Christina Frances MacDougall letter from China.

Name: Jenn Huddleston

Jenn Huddleston

Title:   Archival Technician

Job description: As an Archival Technician I get to be a bit of a Jack of all trades at the Archives. On a given day you might find me assisting researchers in our Reading Room or over email, digitizing records, accessioning new materials, participating in outreach activities, or processing, arranging and describing our fonds and collections. Another exciting initiative I am involved with is the development of a Digital Preservation strategy for Simcoe County Archives. As part of this project I am working to establish workflows, policies, and best practices to ensure that the digital documentary heritage of the County is preserved for the long term.

Favourite record, fonds or collection: It’s difficult to choose just one – so I’m going to cheat and say a ‘type’ of record. I really love working with 19th and early 20th century family photo albums, and there are many great examples of these at SCA.

Name: Chris MacBain

Chris MacBain

Title: Reference Services Co-ordinator

Job Description: This position entails greeting people who are coming into the archives, establishing their research needs and proceeding to help them navigate the appropriate research tools and records. The position also includes research by proxy, initial documentation of donations, training and helping co-op students, retrieving records for municipal offices, some conservation work and “other duties as required”. Recently I’ve been put in charge of the archives’ oral history programme conducting interviews with County residents about their experiences living and growing up in the area.

Favourite record, fonds or collection: When asked what my favourite thing in the archives is I always find that very difficult to answer as there are so many interesting records. An easier question is what do I enjoy most about the Archives. The answer is working with a great team of staff members and meeting so many interesting people, hearing about their varied projects and experiences and helping them to further their goals.  

Rules for Staff, 1879
Rules for Staff, 1879 Copyright: Public Domain

Name: Veronika Mikolajewski

Veronika Mikolajewski

Title: Student Archives Assistant, Winter 2018 & Spring 2018 terms      

Job description As a University student and aspiring Archivist, I am excited to gain experience at Simcoe County Archives. In my role as an Assistant, I have the opportunity to perform a variety of tasks and projects as needed. I have recently been working in our database to alter Geographic Locations to ensure that they are uniform and easily searchable. Apart from this, I am often called upon to conduct research for incoming requests and am involved in a preservation inventory which helps to ensure that our documents are properly cared for.

Favourite record, fonds or collection: A Second World War propaganda poster Attack on All Fronts and an English Language Dictionary published in 1804.

Name: Ellen Millar

Title:   Assistant Archivist

Job description:My job includes overseeing records transfers from the offices of the County, its Towns, and Townships, and the City of Barrie, as well as reviewing donations from private sources.  Following up with that is arrangement and description so the records can be used for research.  I oversee the use, maintenance, and development of the archives’ databases, and coordinate the archives’ outreach programming.  Support activities include being a back-up for reference services and assisting with various administrative tasks.  I have been at the Simcoe County Archives for nearly 23 years and often find myself talking about institutional, local, municipal, and family history until the eyes of researchers and co-workers start to glaze over.

Favourite record, fonds or collection:  I have to choose?!

Personally:  My maternal great-grandparents wedding portrait from 1896, and records pertaining to the First World War – for example, see Remembering Vimy

Professionally:  I love working with the older corporate and municipal records, but who can resist the joys to be found while delving through private collections?

Name: Stephen Ouderkirk

Stephen Ouderkirk

Title: Microfilm Technician

Job Description: As a technical archival specialist, my primary responsibility at the Simcoe County Archives is the enhanced accessibility of archival records and the assurance of their long-term preservation. This is accomplished by creating microfilm copies of original records, as well as the digitization of those microfilm copies. A typical record that would come across the Microfilm Camera would be; local newspapers, municipal records such as council minutes, by-laws and assessment rolls, and scrapbooks, such as the Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir Histories. In addition to my primary responsibilities, I am also involved in the development of our Digital Preservation strategy, with a particular interest in the specific tools and software needed to ensure our digital documentary heritage is preserved for the long-term.

Favourite record: Newspaper collection

Name: Caleb Roberts-Dodd

Caleb Roberts-Dodd

Title: Student Archives Assistant, Winter 2018 term      

Job description: As a co-op student, my job is to assist the other archivists in anyway. If, for example, Chris needed help at the front desk, I would give her a hand. If a request came in to search for a particular item on microfilms, I would retrieve for it. I really do whatever needs to be done. Right now, I am working on completing a full preservation audit of the Archives, ensuring all documents are being preserved satisfactorily. This particular project is fairly interesting, as I get to look over many of the documents that are held here.

Favourite record, fonds or collection: The Barrie Board Game