Brandon University will house decades of photographic archives of the Brandon Sun community

October 14, 2022

University archivist Christy Henry examines one of the acquired negatives.

The SJ McKee Archives at Brandon University houses an extensive collection of photos from the Brandon Sun archives.

The collection includes over 50,000 photographic negatives that span decades from the 1970s to the early 2000s and its acquisition will ensure the preservation and eventual public access to visual records that document the people and places of the Westman area.

“This is another link in the historic relationship between Brandon University and The Brandon Sun,” said University Archivist Christy Henry. “The McKee Archives is the central memory and photographic archive of the city and region of southwestern Manitoba. This is a crucial addition to the memory resources we hold.

The new photo collection is perhaps the largest ever brought by the McKee Archives and was necessitated after the Sun moved to new offices in downtown Brandon.

“The Brandon Sun has been fortunate to be at the forefront of daily coverage of news and events in Western Manitoba for the past 140 years, providing a written account of our community every day” , said Matt Goerzen, editor of the Brandon Sun. “On such a significant anniversary, we are honored to further preserve much of our photographic heritage, let alone open it to the general public through the Brandon University McKee Archive.

“We have seen firsthand the value the McKee Archives hold for historical research and analysis, and we are honored to be able to give back through the gift of our photographic archive.”

A small sample of the historic photos are on display in the collection space of the John E. Robbins Library at BU during the homecoming weekend, and Henry says the long-term goal will be to research and describe each, then to digitize, preserve and share photos with the public.

“It’s a huge task, because each photo will have to be researched and described as both a photo and a physical item, and the number of items in the collection is so vast,” Henry said. “It is a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with this work on behalf of the Brandon Sun and the community.

The new acquisition complements existing collections, including the Lawrence Stuckey Collection, the CKX Fund and the Fred McGuinness Collection.

“The Brandon Sun Photo Collection adds vital new items to our collections and also helps preserve our area’s history,” said Henry. “Working with community members, ensuring preservation and eventual access to records that document people and places in the region are core functions of the archives and also key elements of the University’s new strategic plan.”

Jack C. Nugent