Archivist Caroline Duncan teaches students primary research skills at Oak Bay Archives. (Caroline Duncan photo)

Students explore days gone by at Oak Bay Archives

School program runs January to March teaching primary research skills

More than 160 students from Oak Bay schools toured through their community archives this year, getting a chance to immerse themselves in days gone by and build a more layered context for the community in which they live.

School programs at Oak Bay Archives run January through March each year and teach students valuable skills such as how to conduct research, how to handle fragile documents properly, and how to access different resources.

The year kicked off with Grade 4 classes from Glenlyon Norfolk School moving through a series of stations at the Archives that had historical photographs, maps and plans, early municipal records, oral histories, and online resources.

RELATED: Archivist places certificates on graves of Oak Bay soldiers who died in the First World War

The hands-on program is designed to teach them practical research skills for their Heritage Inquiry Project – where students research something of heritage value that interests them, looking at primary research sources at the Oak Bay Archives and the Royal BC Museum Archives.

Many of the Grade 4 students go on to share their research by participating in the BC Heritage Fair held in May at the Royal BC Museum. Heritage projects from previous years have included Trial Island Lighthouse, Tod House, and other Oak Bay landmarks.

ALSO READ: Students sail and study the Salish Sea

In February, Oak Bay Archives had four classes of Grade 12 History students from Oak Bay High for a House History research project. Each student had to research the history of a property in Oak Bay using primary sources, including appraisal cards, building permits, assessment rolls, census records, fire insurance plans, and photographs.

The partnership program between Oak Bay Archives and Oak Bay High – in its second year – helps equip students with research skills for university, as well as aiding the archives as the students research is compiled using Google Maps and shared with the archives.

RELATED: Heritage Fair at Ecole Willows

Willows School Grade 2 classes brought the school programs at the Archives to a close in March. The students explored the history of Oak Bay in the Archives and learned about local government with Mayor Kevin Murdoch in the Council Chambers.

The hands-on program featured artifacts from the Oak Bay Archives’ educational collection, including a hand-cranked bread maker from the Jones Estate and an early 1900s toaster found in the old Davis home on Windsor Road prior to its demolition last year.

For more details or to schedule a visit, contact archivist Caroline Duncan at cduncan@oakbay.ca

– with files from archivist Caroline Duncan

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