Getting Social

Image: Bill Sargent and Ester Duerksen crossing the Smoky River in a basket suspended from a cable over the river. This method was used when there was still too much ice on the river for the ferry to operate. Used in “Across the Smoky,” p. 342. (SPRA 0116.

During the last year, many have utilized social media to connect with friends and family. Similarly, the South Peace Regional Archives has employed social media as a valuable tool for promoting educational outreach and awareness. Its use has increased our impact, both within our local communities and across the globe.

#ThrowbackThursday is a special social media campaign exclusive to our Facebook page. Each Thursday we travel back in time by sharing a photograph that highlights the history of the South Peace. One of several social media campaigns we’ve launched, Throwback Thursday is improving our reach and making history entertaining and engaging for all audiences. In the 21st century, social media is an invaluable tool for Archives.

One of our most popular posts so far is the aerial ferry over the Smoky River. Prior to the construction of easily accessible bridges, these rivers were crossed using ferries in the water. However, when the river froze over, an aerial ferry was required. This Throwback Thursday post, which appeared on our page on November 19, 2020, features two pictures depicting these aerial ferries. The first features Bill Sargent and Ester Duerksen crossing the Smoky River. The second shows the McCullough brothers’ aerial ferry which served the settlement across the Wapiti and was operated by hand. This particular post had a reach of over 12 000 people, and over 650 unique engagements (likes, shares, or comments).

Image: The McCullough brothers’ aerial ferry served the settlement across the Wapiti when the river was impassable during the spring thaw freeze up. It was worked by hand (SPRA 1986.60.2k)

Within a month of launching the Throwback Thursday Facebook campaign, we gained 100 new likes on our Facebook page. This campaign was made possible with support from the Young Canada Works employment program, which supports organizations in Canada that have a heritage mandate, like the South Peace Regional Archives. Last summer, we hired Kaydence Redding as our Archives Assistant, who researched and wrote all of our Throwback Thursday posts as a part of her position at the Archives. We hope you will visit our Facebook page and enjoy these photographs and more!