CURATOR’S CORNER: I heard it through the grapevine …

Sooke Region Museum has a collection of bound newspapers available for use in research

The Sooke Region Museum has a large collection of bound newspapers available to the public for research. (Contributed - Sooke Region Museum)

The Sooke Region Museum has a large collection of bound newspapers available to the public for research. (Contributed - Sooke Region Museum)

Montana Stanley | Contributed

Did you know the Sooke Region Museum has a wonderful collection of bound newspapers available for use in research?

Issues from the Sooke News Mirror make up the bulk of our newspaper collection, however, we also have many papers and clippings from neighbouring or global regions.

RELATED: Weird and wonderful artifacts at the museum

Sooke News Mirror newspapers are not available online for years before 2012, and there is an unfortunate reason for that. In July 2013, a fire broke out at Evergreen Centre, destroying the 1970s building that housed the Sooke News Mirror office.

Since the fire, the Sooke Region Museum has held the most extensive collection of Mirror newspapers, dating back to 1959, when the Mirror, then “The Grapevine,” begun. We hope to eventually fill in the missing pieces of the digital collection that the Mirror started.

Recently, we had two very similar requests to view a newspaper article from our collection from two separate families. They both recalled seeing a possible front-page article in the Mirror, featuring a large picture of people enjoying the Sooke Potholes Park around the 1980-90s. Interested parties came in to find the article, unfortunately to no avail; however, they enjoyed looking into these past pieces.

While newspapers can be beneficial for research, there are a few things to keep in mind. Newspaper stories are created to inform readers and grab the reader’s attention, in addition to selling newspapers or ad space. In well-rounded research, you should have multiple sources of information in addition to newspapers.

The level of coverage a story was given in the paper can also show the value placed on specific day topics. Earlier newspapers in our collection reported on the more personal aspects of community members not seen in today’s paper, such as marriage announcements, new jobs or endeavours, homemaker’s advice, or residents being accepted into university.

Our newspaper collection can be used for genealogical research, as we have extensive clippings of obituaries from various sources.

You might also find a more human take on the time’s socio-politics, with published opinion pieces.

Popular advertisements and prices of the time are often remarked on when researchers are flipping through the papers. It is always a shock to see past grocery and gas prices!

Please make an appointment to view our newspapers by emailing or calling the museum at 250-642-6351. You never know what you may find.


Montana Stanley is the collections and exhibits manager at the Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre.

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