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Heritage committee focuses on old photos

Chris Chambers found this historic photograph in a collection from the estate of her mother, the late Gwen Young. The Fort Macleod Heritage and History Committee is looking for help identifying the people in the photograph. Anyone with information is asked to contact committee chairman Gordon MacIvor at 403-553-0200 or gordon-macivor@gmail.com

The new Fort Macleod Heritage and History Committee has set out to archive and showcase photographs from the past.
The idea of creating a digital archive of photos and displaying them on-line fits right in with plans at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police.
“We’re going to be scanning all the photos and putting them in a file,” Fort Museum site manager Dawn Lauder said.
The heritage committee met March 1 at the Fort Museum.
Lauder told committee members she will be working with Fort Macleod resident Joy Hurlburt on scanning the photos to create digital images.
“It will take us a few days,” Lauder said.
Committee chairman Gordon MacIvor, Margaret Gosling, Neil Balkham, Edith Evans, Chris Chambers and Bill Hart turned out for the meeting in the basement of the Fort Museum.
Chambers, a Grade 3 teacher at W.A. Day school in Fort Macleod, heard the committee was planning to archive old photos.
“The reason I really like the idea of compiling the history of Fort Macleod in photos is it fits right in with the Social Studies curriculum,” Chambers told the committee.
Students are encouraged to develop critical thinking skills by doing their own research on history.
“You can use photos to get people thinking,” Chambers said.
Engaging the students in identifying the people, places and events in historic photos fits well in the Social Studies curriculum.
Chambers also brought to the meeting an old photo from the collection of her late mother, Gwen Young.
The photograph shows a group of men, only some of whom are identified including former Fort Macleod Mayor Charlie Edgar and RCMP Commissioner Dann, gathered for a celebration in one of Fort Macleod’s hotels.
The challenge will be to identify all the people in the photo, and to determine the cause of their celebration and when and where it took place.
“To me, that is what is so enriching,” MacIvor said of the challenge in front of the committee. “Bringing something to life.”
Chambers said there are many photographs in her mother’s collection that capture moments in Fort Macleod’s history.
MacIvor is hopeful other Fort Macleod residents will come forward with their photographs to have them scanned, archived and displayed.
“We will be telling the story of Fort Macleod through pictures . . . using technology today to digitize them and put them on the World Wide Web,” MacIvor said.
Bill Hart said posting photos of unidentified people, places and events on the Internet is a good idea.
“You could use the Web to get the answers,” Hart suggested.
A tour of the Town of Fort Macleod office was what stirred the committee’s interest in photographs as a first project.
Many historic photos are stored out of site in the basement and other rooms that the committee wants to preserve, protect and display.
“I was very disheartened when I saw all those photos sitting in the basement of the town office,” Margaret Gosling said.
Anyone with an interest in the history of Fort Macleod and district is asked to call Gordon MacIvor at 403-553-0200 or e-mail gordonmacivor@gmail.com.

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