A people’s culture has a great deal to do with their past. As a result, each individual, city, or nation can learn a great deal about their traditions and themselves through their unique history. Lacombe is no different.
On April 8, Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk toured various historical sites around the city to promote and remind Albertans how important their past is to their future as part of her “Culture Connects” tour.
“I’m so impressed by the history, the sense of protectiveness and the love residents have for the city,” said Klimchuk. “When you see the incredible brick structures that are everywhere, I think it is wonderful. Sometimes we have a habit of tearing down a lot of our history. I’m so happy as minister to come to Lacombe and see how it is being protected and how new businesses are embracing it.”
Minister Klimchuk toured the Flatiron, the Michener House, and the Blacksmith Shop museums in Lacombe, where she learned more about the city’s unique history, as well as getting a chance to try her hand in front of a forge and anvil.
At the Blacksmith Shop museum Minister Klimchuk was given the opportunity to fashion a keepsake in the form of a nail.
“It looked much tougher than it was,” said Klimchuk. “It was a lot of fun and very informative.”
In an effort to help with the preservation of the city’s history, Minister Klimchuk presented the Lacombe and District Historical Society (LDHS) with a $9,508 cheque for the transfer of their records to a digital format.
“They received a grant today to go towards digitizing all of their precious resources,” said Klimchuk. “We know as a government that digitizing is an expensive project but, if we don’t do that the memories will slip away.”
As part of their preservation process, the LDHS must acquire expensive software to begin the process digitizing their records.
“This grant will help us fulfill phase one of this project,” said Marie Péron, executive director LDHS. “We will be able to purchase the equipment and start implementing a standardized data entry so that all of our records can be accessible.”
After the records collection has been transferred to a digital format the goal is to make them accessible online to the general public so that future generations can benefit from their information.
A large portion of the digitization will be in the form of photographs. The LDHS has a large collection of pictures taken throughout the history of the city that help shed light on its evolution.
“Lacombe had local photograph studios and they actually retained and kept all of the negatives and photos they took over the years,” said Péron. “They are a great treasure trove of information not only people’s faces but what the community looked like and how it has changed over time.”
The digitization of the LDHS archives will ensure future generations can experience the unique culture of the city besides the wonderfully preserved buildings.
“When people come here they put the past, present, and future together and that is what culture does,” said Klimchuk. “Culture connects all of us. You can especially see that in a beautiful city like Lacombe.”