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Sidney museum aims to digitize 90 years of Saanich, Gulf Islands history
The Peninsula News Review digitization project will digitize 46 rolls of 35-millimetre microfilm containing past issues of the newspaper.
VICTORIA -- The Sidney Museum wants to make the history of the Saanich Peninsula and the Gulf Islands available from the comfort of your own home.
In an age of online searches, most people want to have information at the tips of their fingers. But when that information is stored on microfilm, it is not as readily available.
That's why the museum wants to raise funds to digitize 90 years of history from the pages of the Peninsula News Review and make it available online.
"We are looking at about 38,000 pages of newspaper," said Sidney Museum assistant director Alyssa Gerwing. "That is a lot of history when to you are talking local history especially."
The Peninsula News Review digitization project will digitize 46 rolls of 35-millimetre microfilm containing past issues of the newspaper. The papers in question covered the Saanich Peninsula and surrounding Gulf Islands from 1912 through 2002. The collection contains unique materials that documented the cultural, political and social history of the area.
"By digitizing the pages from the newspaper we are providing them for future generations," said Gerwing. "This is a project we need to do now and we are trying to get it done for our 50th anniversary in 2021."
The newspapers recorded important social events, such as births, deaths and marriages. They also reported news on agriculture, advertised local businesses in addition to economic, military and historical news at the provincial level.
The collection is currently only accessible in person by appointment on the museum’s sole microfilm reader located at Sidney Town Hall.
"The Pat Bay Highway, BC Ferries history, these are all things that are local to us that people care about and want to know more about," said Gerwing. "All those things are captured on microfilm and that's the information we are trying to allow the public to access."
The Sidney Museum application for the digitization project has been accepted for consideration by the BC History Digitization Program at UBC. The museum is seeking sponsors to raise $11,000 for the matching funds required by the granting agency.