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CURATOR’S CORNER – How photos bring Sooke’s history to life

Museum invites photo and information sharing
Sooke Elementary School’s Division 2 class photo from 1960. The Sooke Region Museum is looking to identify students in the photo. Contact Emma Wilton by email at or through the museum’s Facebook or Instagram pages. (Sooke Region Museum)

Emma Wilton - Contributed

The Sooke Region Museum’s photo collection consists of 9,500 photos that have been catalogued and digitized, with about 7,000 accessible to the public online.

Photos are the easiest items to catalogue, store and digitize. One of our priorities is to digitize and make our photo collection accessible online for people to use.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, we welcome donations of both physical and digital photos. We store all physical images in our archives – some contain originals of the pictures, and some are reproductions. If you want to see our collection of historical photos, you can find a link to it on our website. Feel free to take a look, and if you see anything that catches your eye, an order form is available.

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Photos are among the most requested resources from researchers, family members, and interested people. Many researchers use photos in their reports or articles to highlight essential aspects of their findings. Photos allow people to peer into the past in ways words cannot. They give snapshots of what people wore, where they were, and who was in the photo.

Sometimes, we see posed photos of past families and couples; these can tell us a lot, but we have to consider that they are posed in such a way as to present specific images to the public. On the other hand, when we receive photos of people at work, in conversation or motion, these are exciting photos to look at. They give us a candid look at life in the past.

Photos are a central way we reach out to the community through social media. People can bond by looking through photos and searching for standard landscape features or past relatives.

Photos have a way of bringing people together. You may have seen some posts of historical photos on our Facebook and Instagram; sometimes, we know all of the information on the photo, and occasionally, we don’t. We post those photos as a way to engage with the community and also to gain valuable information.

Suppose you see a photo posted to our Facebook or Instagram and see wrong or missing information. In that case, we encourage you to provide the information you have. We take the information and update our records to reflect the correct information.

Today’s Curator’s Corner features a Division 2 class from Sooke Elementary School in 1960. We currently do not have any identifications for this class photos. If you have any information on the image, please get in touch with me at or through the museum’s Facebook or Instagram pages.


Emma Wilton is the collections and exhibits manager for Sooke Region Museum. Email