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Digitizing 75 years of North Peace history

The Fort St. John North Peace Museum is embarking on a large project to digitize newspapers from Fort St. John beginning with the Alaska Highway News.
AHN-Sjoblom-Museum
Fort St. John North Peace Museum manager Heather Sjoblom scans an archive page of the Alaska Highway News, Dec. 7, 2020.

The Fort St. John North Peace Museum is embarking on a large project to digitize newspapers from Fort St. John beginning with the Alaska Highway News.

Thanks to a significant grant in aid from the Peace River Regional District, the museum has purchased a large-scale scanner as well as Therefore Software through Ideal Office Solutions.

“Museum staff and volunteers have long dreamed about making these newspapers searchable. The museum fields over 110 research requests from the public annually,” said Museum Manager Heather Sjoblom.

“This project will enable the museum to respond to these requests more efficiently. It will also facilitate research on items in the museum’s collection and will be useful for creating future museum exhibits.”

The Alaska Highway News began publishing in 1944, before the end of the Second World War and before Fort St. John was even considered a village.

Its 76 volumes include more than a quarter-million pages documenting the growth of the North Peace region from its pioneer days into the modern age.

“Our archives have been an invaluable tool for the important work the museum does to preserve our community’s history and share its stories,” said Alaska Highway News Editor Matt Preprost. “We are excited to start digitizing these pages and put them back into the hands of our readers and interested researchers.”

The museum is looking for volunteers to help scan the newspapers. After a 30-minute training session, volunteers will be able to set their own hours. The museum hopes to make the newspapers searchable online one day with the help of sponsors.

“Ideal Office Solutions has been working with many organizations providing copier/printer products and services for almost 20 years in Fort St. John. It was exciting to be able to provide the Historical Society with the technology and software to make this project a reality,” said Nelson Stowe, President of Ideal Office Solutions.

“Researchers, history buffs, students and anyone who has an interest in our past will be able to search and find years of historical information in seconds. We look forward to continue to work with the Historical Society to build this valuable digital resource.”

For more info, please phone Heather at the Fort St. John North Peace Museum at 250-787-0430 or email fsjnpmuseum@fsjmail.com.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.