Sample letter to send to Winnipeg electoral candidates about protecting city archives

If you would like to write to the candidates for Winnipeg mayor and councillor to express your support for the city’s rich documentary heritage, a group of historians and archivists has provided a sample letter on their website, A New Home for the City of Winnipeg Archives.

There’s a reason why these historians are concerned.

Five years, a rainstorm caused the roof to leak at the Carnegie Library where the city archives were stored. As a result, the archives were moved to a smaller facility in a former warehouse, where they remain today.

The Winnipeg Free Press said the new location is “accurately denigrated as a ‘metal shed’” on Myrtle Street.

Part of the sample letter says, “The city’s own 2016 assessment of the Myrtle warehouse notes it has ‘limited administrative office space and public access space, hard to find location, sub-standard storage for archival materials, limited space for appraisal/description projects, no space for conservation/preservation work critical to facilitate access to and long-term preservation of core archival materials, no space for outreach programming.'”

According to a CBC report, “The city’s archival collection houses municipal and privately donated documents dating back to 1873, and is valued at more than $4 million for insurance purposes….”

Heather Bidzinski, chair of the Association for Manitoba  Archives, told CBC the city’s collection is considered to be among the richest municipal collections in the country.

If meeting a candidate in person, there are talking points on the website, A New Home.

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