All of our archival records have a new, modern, spacious home at the Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters Regional Council and Regional Council 15 Archives (21 Wright Street, Sackville, N.B. E4P 4L8). Check out the photos below for a virtual tour of our facilities.
The first room you will come to is the Archives office. !
Anyone coming in to do research at the Archives will be set up in our research room. Here you can consult records listings, biographies of ministers, newspapers, and church histories as well as request to see records. Our microfilm machine in the corner still gets lots of use. It may seem like an out-dated technology but microfilm is still one of the best methods we have to ensure long-term preservation of records.
Now we move into the processing room. Processing records is an archival term used to describe the organization of records as well as their cataloging and proper housing. This involves tasks such as sorting records, removing rusty staples or paperclips, and transferring the records to acid-free file folders and archival storage boxes.
Off to the side of the processing room, we have a small receiving room to put records when they first come in. Once the records have been assigned a reference number, they can move to the processing room. The gray door leads to a small “hold room” or “isolation room” where moldy or dirty records can be isolated until a professional conservator is able to treat them.
And now for the most exciting part! The archival storage space was designed in consultation with a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators and conforms to archival standards for building materials, insulation, and climate control. To best preserve the records, the temperature is maintained at 15 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity at 30%. It’s 4700 square feet so we have lots of room to grow. The storage area is secure and we have smoke detectors and a sprinkler system in place.
There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind when it comes to protecting records. Paper records are susceptible to damage from fire, water, and radiation from visible light and UV rays as well as inappropriate temperature and humidity levels. Pests such as bugs or rodents and security breaches are also factors to consider. With the system we have in place, we can expect our records to be preserved for another 150 years. And of course by that point in time technologies will have changed so much that we can keep extending this number.
We have two large mobile shelving units in place with the rails laid for a third when more shelving is required. The advantage of a mobile shelving unit is that it takes up way less space than static shelving, think a 50% reduction of floor space used, because the mobile shelving does not require an aisle between every shelving unit. Currently, if you stretched out our records from end to end, we would have almost a kilometer of records so the mobile shelving comes in handy.
Lawrence Nicholl, from the Cumberland County Genealogical Society, very kindly pieced together this panoramic view of the Archives storage vault. Thank you Lawrence!
This giant machine controls the humidity in the Archives.
If you’re in the Sackville area, feel free to stop by for a tour of the Archives. We’d be more than happy to show you around!