Abbotsford Heritage Society has launched an online catalogue of its collection, including this miniature train car. (PHOTO: Heritage Abbotsford Society 79.34.1B)

Abbotsford Heritage Society has launched an online catalogue of its collection, including this miniature train car. (PHOTO: Heritage Abbotsford Society 79.34.1B)

Heritage Abbotsford launches online collections catalogue

Information can now be found virtually about artifacts, photos and archival holdings

Heritage Abbotsford Society has launched an online collections catalogue.

The society, which originated as a grassroots organization in the late 1960s, has been growing its collection since its inception.

Over the years, the collection has been displayed in a variety of locations. Currently, some of the artifacts can be seen on display at the society’s home base, Trethewey House, as well as in the Voices of the Valley exhibit on display at The Reach Gallery Museum.

With a pandemic in full swing, however, the society needed to find another way to give the public access to its collections, and they applied for and received a Pivot Grant from the B.C. Arts Council. This has enabled them to launch their catalogue virtually.

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The public can now find information about the many artifacts, photos and archival holdings in stewardship of the society via the website HeritageAbbotsford.ca.

“Museums hold a lot more belongings than they can display, and this is a great opportunity for people to find out about the stories which aren’t on exhibit,” said Sara Bremner, Heritage Abbotsford’s conservation technologist.

“Online catalogues like ours are wonderful resources for researchers and the curious public, who can access information about belongings which are in storage, or may be in the stewardship of an organization located in another community, or even another country.”

Much of Heritage Abbotsford’s programming was taken online even before the COVID pandemic, and includes virtual walking tours, webinars, and virtual exhibits.

To accommodate the pivot to a more accessible virtual catalogue, Heritage Abbotsford contracted a photographer, Sheila Louise Wright, and partnered with University of the Fraser Valley to place collections management interns with the organization.

“We continue to produce photos and scans of the holdings, but there are literally thousands of belongings left to photograph, so this will be an ongoing project for years to come,” Wright said.

The society will launch its latest exhibit, The River People and the Land: Living with S’olh Temexw, on June 13 to coincide with the fifth annual Aboriginal Arts and Culture Day.

The public is invited to celebrate National Indigenous History Month virtually this year, with a market, webinars, children’s programming and gatherings under the Aboriginal Arts and Culture Day banner being held virtually throughout the month of June.

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