An archival moment: digging for treasure

Jenny Seeman
After a long hiatus, the archives are open again, and this is the first of what I hope will be many ‘archival moments’ from me as archivist at RRU.

After a long hiatus, the archives are open again, and this is the first of what I hope will be many ‘archival moments’ from me as archivist at RRU. In the short time I have been here, I have been getting acquainted with the archival collection and learning as much as I can about the history of this beautiful site. The picture I chose above exemplifies my experience so far of poking in boxes, digging through files and finding hidden gems. (What is this guy looking for, anyway?)

The majority of the archival collection here at Royal Roads falls into three time periods: the Dunsmuirs (1907-1937); Royal Roads Military College (1940-1995); and Royal Roads University (1995-). As well, the archives works in partnership with local Indigenous people to document their use of the Hatley Park area.

Many of the items in the Dunsmuir family fonds (an archival term for a collection that originates from the same source or creator) were collected during the DND tenure and were transferred to the university archives in 1995. There are also around 1500 digitized photos, which were loaned by the family for that purpose.

The Royal Roads Military College fonds contains records that are helpful in interpretation of the various iterations of the institution’s history, from its beginnings in 1940 as the Naval College and ‘HMCS Royal Roads’, to the tri-service training facility, eventually known Royal Roads Military College. The records that remain here from that time period include over 10,000 photos(!), as well as maps, films, and textual documents.

The Royal Roads University fonds is the primary repository for records that have enduring historical, corporate or community significance to RRU. Staff and student experience are also part of these records. This collection is largely textual, although there are also videos and of course more photographs!    

It is truly an honour to be a custodian of the unique and valuable historical resources here at Hatley Park and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the warm welcome I have received on becoming a member of the Royal Roads community. I look forward to enriching the many and exciting Royal Roads projects by providing a historical perspective relevant to our modern world.

If you would like to know more about the archival collection, have stories, photographs, or documents that you believe belong in the archives, or if you need my assistance, you can find me in the library, and on extension 4122. You can also see some of our collections online here

I am looking forward to meeting you!

Jenny Seeman