EXHIBIT INTRODUCTION: THE INITIATIVE
In 1984, Dr Richard Bennett of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, University of Manitoba Libraries, and Dr. Clay Gilson of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences began discussing the need for developing the agricultural holdings of the archives. The department was already in possession of the Faculty of Agriculture records and a committee was struck to explore other available collections. By 1990, two significant agricultural organizations, Keystone Agricultural Producers and United Grain Growers, had donated their archival records to the University. Distinguished faculty members like Dr. J.H. Ellis of Soil Science and Dr. Len Shebeski and Dr. Sol Sinclair of the Department of Agricultural Economics also added their papers to the Archives' holdings, providing a good foundation from which to develop the "Archives of the Agricultural Experience".
In the autumn of 1992, University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections launched a program to identify and acquire valuable records for the further development of its agricultural archives. With its inception, the Archives of the Agricultural Experience recognized that the history of Manitoba was in many ways a history of agriculture.
The objectives of the Archives of the Agricultural Experience included the acquisition of a broad collection of records that documents the many facets of prairie agriculture and to preserve and make these records accessible as a vital link to our farming heritage.
The initial phase of the project identified and secured individual farm records including journals, diaries, financial records, and photographs in the Red River Valley. The second phase of the project began in 1993 and concentrated on securing the records of agri-businesses and agricultural organizations. This endeavor was particularly timely as a number of grain companies and agri-businesses have ceased to operate either through mergers or buy-outs. During this phase, the Department acquired a number of major collections including the Union Stock Yards, Can Amera Foods, Ogilvie Flour Mills Ltd., the North-West Line Elevator Association, S.M.R. Breeders and the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association. The third phase of the project began in 1995 and focused on the Assiniboine River Valley. This resulted in the acquisition of the Dauphin Agricultural Society fonds along with a number of additional farm family collections. The department continues to maintain a high profile within the agricultural sector acquiring a broad range of archival material from farmers, agricultural businesses, and farm organizations. Among the Archives' most significant recent acquisitions are the records of the Winnipeg Commodity Clearing Association and the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association.
The University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections continues to actively seek important agricultural collections to add to its existing holdings. If you or your organization have any materials that you think might be important and wish to have included in the Archives of the Agricultural Experience, please contact:
Shelley Sweeney, Head,
This on-line guide and exhibit has been developed through the generous financial support of:
The Winnipeg Foundation
The ADM Foundation
The University of Manitoba Outreach Grant Program
Cultural Human Resources Council
Additional on-line fonds-level descriptions were funded through a Heritage Grants Advisory Council grant from Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism.
This on-line guide and exhibit was researched, written, and designed by: Curt Campbell, Lewis St. George Stubbs, Joy Schroeder, Shelley Sweeney, Michael Moosberger, and Brett Lougheed.