March 2021 marked the one year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. Like many organizations and individuals, the South Peace Regional Archives has been profoundly impacted by the virus. Approximately one year ago, the Archives closed to the public, including in-person researchers and volunteers. Despite the challenges that have arisen during this time, we have continued our mission: to gather, preserve, and share the historical records of the region. As people spend more time at home, we have also witnessed an increased interest in local history and sense of community identity that comes from a greater understanding and appreciation of the past. More than ever, the pandemic closure has reinforced the growing need to make historical records accessible to the public. Close Contact at the Archives features a wide variety of records from the collections of the Archives: archival film, textual records, photographs, and oral histories.
Close Contact is a multimedia experience highlighting the continuing work at the South Peace Regional Archives to preserve and make accessible historical records. The exhibition emphasizes the value of community partnerships and preserving our collective heritage, even while we maintain our social distance. Through this virtual exhibition, we hope to provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of day-to-day life in the South Peace Regional Archives, including the often-invisible labor that culminates in our mission.
We would like to dedicate this exhibition to all who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and past pandemics in our region’s history.