Negatives a positive donation for museum

Having been kept in storage for many years at The Citizen, photo negatives from the late 1960s to 2001 were turned over to the The Exploration Place Museum + Science Centre this week so the public can have access to more than 20,000 photos in the archive.

The collection consists of work from several photographers and stops at 2001 when the Citizen switched to digital cameras.

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"We have a significant number of Citizen negatives and photos from other eras," said Tracy Calogheros, chief executive officer at The Exploration Place.

"Brent (Braaten, Citizen photographer) suggested that The Citizen wanted to move the rest of the negative collection over to the museum to make it a permanent collection so that we'd have it as an entire collection. Contemporary collecting for us is all about trying to find objects and images that are significant to the community and actually the Citizen materials that we've got have always been great because they come with so much information."

Not only are descriptions included with each negative but they are all catalogued as well.

This will save the museum a lot of work as well as make them available for anyone who's looking to do some research, added Calogheros.

"The goal for the collection is to eventually get it all online so people will be able to search them from the comfort of their own homes but digitizing collections is the expensive part of what we do and no one seems to want to fund it," said Calogheros. "It's a huge project and when we're talking thousands upon thousands of images it's a lengthy process."

The collection is an important contribution to the museum, she added.

"It's important because it is coming out of the newspaper," said Calogheros.

"The newspaper has always been the central part of the community and it's so important to have those images - from the ads in the paper to the pictures of events - that's what really gives people a sense of time and place when they're trying to do research on a particular era. Nine times out of 10 they look to the newspaper for that information because it's the historical record."

Donating the negatives to Exploration Place is part of an ongoing effort by the Citizen to help preserve its history in Prince George. The Citizen celebrates its 100th anniversary as the oldest locally-founded business on Tuesday.

"We're so happy to have local partners like Exploration Place to archive our negatives and the Prince George Public Library finishing the online collection of the Citizen going back 100 years," said publisher Colleen Sparrow.

"Down the road, our kids and our grandkids will thank us for working together to preserve our local history and making it accessible to everyone."

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