Residents can access the archives for the Maple Ridge Museum by appointments on Sundays. (Shea Henry/Special to The News)

Residents can access the archives for the Maple Ridge Museum by appointments on Sundays. (Shea Henry/Special to The News)

LOOKING BACK: Looking forward to opening of archive space at Maple Ridge Museum

For first time in the historical society’s history an archival building will be open to the public

By Shea Henry/Special to The News

Traditionally, our Looking Back columns in The News offer short clips and stories of life in Maple Ridge past.

But today, we are looking forward.

Maple Ridge Historical Society operators of the Maple Ridge Museum, is growing, and we are excited to announce the opening of a dedicated archival space at the museum.

For the first time in our long history, the Maple Ridge Historical Society has opened a publicly accessible archives space.

The museum had a soft opening for the archives on Feb. 27 and have now fully opened.

For the past several months the Maple Ridge Museum staff has been hard at work converting the existing Brickyard Office building at the museum site from a cluttered storage space to a functional archives.

In the past, those who wanted to access our extensive community archives could only do so through museum employees, as there was no space to allow for visitors and hands-on research.

Now, community members who would like to search our research collection, archival collections, photographs, and collection of community newspapers can do so themselves with the assistance of museum staff.

To aid in the growth of our archives space we also hope to be welcoming on board a dedicated archivist to our team in the near future.

The Maple Ridge Historical Society was founded in 1956, and since then its members, volunteers, and staff have created an archives filled with thousands of records. As a community archives we have collected the history of the people, families, groups, clubs, businesses, etc. from the last nearly 150 years.

The Brickyard Office was completed in 1935 as the office space for Haney Brick and Tile Company. It was built using the different types of brick produced at the brickyard, as an advertising showcase to potential buyers.

Through the years, the building had been used by different organizations, updates were added, and eventually it passed to the historical society. And for years it was used to store the archives and other collections items of the museum.

While we are excited for this step, we are still working on our goal of getting a larger and more appropriate space for our archives, the Brickyard Office building, while beautiful, is still too small to house our entire archives.

At the moment, only about 70 per cent of the archives fits in the building.

The rest is in permanent storage, and that is not including the Whonnock archives that lives in Mission. Those archives materials will eventually come back to Maple Ridge, when we have the space for it.

At the moment the archives will be open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but due to the small space in the building only two community members at a time can be inside to maintain social distancing. Masks are mandatory. Appointments can be made by calling the museum at 604-463-5311.

We are excited to welcome the community to our new and beautiful archives space!

– Shea Henry is executive director of the Maple Ridge Museum & Community Archives

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