Over the course of a lifetime, most people accumulate a variety of records. It starts with a birth certificate and expands into awards, bank statements, receipts, letters, photographs - anything that documents important events and relationships in one’s life. These records comprise an individual’s personal archives.
Archives are also important sources of records that captivate us because of their visual qualities. Maps, architectural drawings and posters capture our imaginations, and not only because they are often very beautiful. They are the visible record of they way places and things looked long ago - and they provide us with insight into how diversely people see the world at different times.
These documents provide a fascinating view into the past.
Like a detective investigating a case, a researcher using
these records can get a sense of what a place looked like,
what people were thinking, what life was like, and what
happened and why. Anyone with an interest in the past,
whether it is delving into local history, tracing a family
tree, or probing decisions and events, will find answers
Compare the two architectural perspective
paintings below from 1913 and 1974, and one begins to comprehend
just how radical were the changes in perception that occurred
over the course of the twentieth century.
Archives Unboxed and Revealed is a web exhibit by the Archives of Ontario designed to assist researchers in learning more about archives: what they are, where to find them, and how to use them.