IDThemDays Trips

Hi Everyone!

To bring IDThemDays project to more communities, We will be traveling for a few weeks from next Tuesday until February 8th.

As you know, we have had #IDThemDays events in Happy Valley-Goose Bay a few times and had a lot photos identified by inviting people to come to look at them.  And to get more audiences from other communities, especially those who are not active in social media so can’t see our photos posted online, we will travel to some communities to host photo identification events and ask for help from the locals.

Our trips have been arranged (thank Aimee!) and dates and places for events have been booked (thank Aimee again!) in different communities. Besides the IDThemDays project, we will also try to conduct interviews to collect stories, especially those about veterans for our coming magazines. So if you would like to share some stories with us, let us know!

The following is the details of our trips. Follow our facebook, you will get more updated information from there!

From 22nd -25th January, I will be in Cartwright, and the event will be at the 50+ Club on Wednesday, 23 from 2-5 pm. click the link to see the poster and more information!

From 28th – 1st February, Me and Shane (check this blog to know more about him) will be in Straits. Two events so far are scheduled, one is Jan 29, Lawrence D. O’Brien Town Centre in L’anse au Loup from 3-8 pm. The other one will be Jan 30, at Town Hall of West St. Modeste from 1-3pm.

After Straits I will head to the north coast to Nain and Hopedale for a week.

On Monday, February 4, there will be an event in Nunatsiavut Gov. Head Office from 6-8pm, and the next day on Tuesday, same location from 1-4pm.

Wednesday February 6, from 6 to 8pm and Thursday February 7 from 2-4pm , I will be at Nanuk Community Center, Hopedale.

Everyone is welcome! And we are looking forward to seeing you!


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Filed under Labrador Image Identification and Dissemination Initiative, Pei, the archives, Uncategorized

Celebrating Martha

One of our regular volunteers, Martha, recently celebrated a birthday, so when she came by today to work on her archival project, we knew we had to celebrate. So we got some peanut butter balls and a candle (picture three-non-smokers looking everywhere for a lighter or a match quietly, in a big panic, trying to be as secretive as possible, realizing this conundrum only once Martha arrived) and surprised her.

20190107 - martha's yesterbirthday

(Don’t worry–we actually ate the food outside the reading room and away from all archival materials!)

Martha is such an amazing volunteer, and she’s been working hard on getting the Bernie Heard collection described and listed. It’s a huge collection, with very diverse documents, based around genealogy. It’s the type of collection you might look through for the one thing that’s relevant to your research, but might get lost in. Martha’s work is making sure that we can find that information. (Seriously, she’s gone through over 1000 pages already, and there’s more to go!)

Thank you, Martha, for all the wonderful work you do for Them Days!



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Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit) Photos


The photos above are from Hank and Bella Shouse fonds in Them Days slides collection.  They were taken in 1950s in Iqaluit (used to be Frobisher Bay ) . Unfortunately, we do not have the information of who they are or where the specific locations are. So if you can help identify them, let us know !

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Why Donating to Them Days Matters

Lately, it seems like my inbox has been filled with year-end requests for donations from organizations I’ve donated to in the past, or ones whose websites I’ve frequented. Some of them have been coming pretty frequently and I’m going to probably unsubscribe now, but others have made me think about sending a few dollars their way.

It also made me think: maybe I should do something like that for Them Days.

I won’t spam your inbox or hit you over the head with all this stuff, but I’d just like to let you know that your support makes a difference in a few different ways. With every donation, you’re contributing to our efforts to documenting and preserving Labrador’s cultural heritage. So thank you for all your donations in this past year, and all years previous, too.

When you donate to Them Days:

  • You help keep the lights on, our driveway ploughed, and our archive operating at professional standards. Most grants that we apply to will only go towards specific projects, and absolutely not towards any operating expenses. We are fortunate in that we apply to and avail of an operating grant from the provincial government every year that we can use for operating expenses and staff wages, but as you can imagine, it’s not meant to cover all our expenses, and it doesn’t. And we can’t work in the dark, or work under mountains of snow, or without insurance. You’re helping keep our archive climate-controlled and fire-safe too, because those systems require electricity and routine checks and maintenance.
  • You help employ people in our community to do good work. We have two regular staff members (an editor who makes the magazine and who’s also in charge of the archives, and an archive technician-administrator) with help from others throughout the year: summer students, contract workers, people hired under employment programs like Linkages. We apply for grants for these other workers (because we don’t have enough money to hire them by ourselves), but those programs don’t necessarily cover all the wages. So your donation goes straight to supplement those wage subsidies so we can hire people complete all the work we do. Our workers interview seniors and knowledge holders, transcribe interviews, edit things for the magazine, research history, help you find things in the archives, describe archival files so we know where and how to find things, digitize photos and audio, put archival materials in safe storage, organize community events and more. Basically, without your donation, we couldn’t do the work we do.
  • You help us get more project grants. Most of the money we use to get things done around here come from grants, either from places like the federal or provincial governments or private foundations like the International Grenfell Association. But when we apply to them, we need to prove that we are contributing a certain amount of money too–or even that we get a certain percentage of our funds from non-government revenue. It’s all part of applying for money when you’re a charitable organization.  So when you donate, you’re helping us show that we have support from our community, that others think our work is valuable and worth supporting–and that helps them decide that they want to help too. You’ve heard the phrase “You need money to make money”? Same thing applies in the non-profit sector–the more successful you are in getting money, the more money you tend to get. The only difference is we don’t profit–it is all used for our programming!
  • You help us buy necessary equipment or supplies. Archival storage doesn’t come cheap. (Our acid- and lignin-free file folders are $60.95 for a pack of 100–do you know how many filing cabinets of documents we have? Or how about $43.00 for a binder to protect our 6000+ slides and counting–not including the holders we put in them.) These are necessary for safe long-term storage of the treasures we hold at Them Days. This article about an archives in Texas is a great description of archival preservation and conservation work. (And if you’ve ever seen a photo fade, a piece of paper crumble, or a diary go mouldy, you’ll know exactly why this is all important.)

Basically, if you’ve ever been touched by a story you read in the magazine, had your breath taken away when you’ve seen a picture of your grandparents for the first time, connected with family, helped your child with a heritage fair project, read a story from our magazine to your parent or child, cooked a recipe from our cookbook, learned about traditional medicines, or even just enjoyed traditional music or food at our events–you’ve experienced first-hand what a donation can do here at Them Days. Our magazine, our archives, our special projects like #IDThemDays–it’s all made possible by donations and grants.

So please, when you’re thinking about making a donation somewhere, think of us. We do our best to make sure your money is well-spent and makes a difference to the communities we serve.

This also goes for when you buy our products too–you’re helping support our operations that way, too–so give a calendar as a gift next year, or buy a subscription for that relative living away. Or consider buying a subscription for a school or public library and support two special places as once!

Thank you for all your support–it is genuinely appreciated and very useful to us.



Filed under Aimee, business/announcements

Welcome, Shane!


We have a new face in the office now–Shane Heard started working with us a couple of weeks ago!

Shane has made a really great addition to our office. We get along great, and he’s taken on some projects with the #IDThemDays project, and while he does that, he’s started digitizing tapes as well!

Shane is working with us until May, though we are hoping (cross your fingers!) that we will find some more grant money to keep him on longer. I can tell he will do great things for Them Days!

So please join me in welcoming Shane to our office.


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Filed under Aimee, business/announcements, Labrador Image Identification and Dissemination Initiative, Shane

#IDThemDays Project Introduction Step by Step

Hello everyone!

Christmas is coming, which also means our one-year IDThemDays project (full name as Labrador Image Identification and Dissemination Initiative Phase II) is coming to its end. It will be finished by the end of January 2019, but it does not mean all the work will be done by then! We still have thousands of unidentified or unorganized photos in our massive collection. To let you have an idea of what I have been doing with this project so far, I would like to write this blog to introduce it with some details.

First of all, our negative collection is organized by locations and we assigned ID numbers to photos from different regions in Labrador, so the goal of this project is to identify those photos labeled as “miscellaneous” and move them to the right sections. Most of them do not have any information or very little, so we need to look at each photo and try to find the information through different ways.

Some might be quite obvious, because we know the people, houses or landscapes. For example the photo Misc2771 was relocated to Makkovik section as H613, because we know it is Moravian Church in Makkovik.


While others might be quite difficult if no obvious clues found. In this case, if we know the donor who has some identified photos in our collection, we can then compare this one with them, and we may find the information we need.

For example, photo Misc2657 was from Bessie Flynn, and we already have a few photos from her in Forteau section. Eventually we found that Misc2657 was related to one of them, Z44, so the new ID number Z173 replaced it.




Z173, used to be in Miscellaneous secion

Sometimes we may find that many miscellaneous photos are actually duplicates. We purchased a software in 2016 to identify duplicate photos, and it was helpful for us to locate hundreds of duplicates, although it did not catch everything.

So whenever we come across a photo which somehow looks familiar, we go to the possible collections to see if it is a duplicate or at least relate to some others photos.  This probably is the most time-consuming part because you have to go through every single photo in one or more sections. (You may ask how and why you would feel that a photo looks familiar.Well, you just gain a sense after having been looking at photos everyday. )

For example, Misc2793, we felt it could be in Sandwich Bay area because we have seen some photos in a similar style, so we looked at photos in N section (which represents Sandwich Bay region in our number system), and after comparing with hundreds of photos, we found N810! Which is the exact same photo!


N810 used to be Miscellaneous 2794

If there are absolutely no information, we will ask for help by posting photos online or invite people come to a photo identification event or turn to people who might be an expert in identifying old photos from certain regions. We had many photos identified through these ways.

For instance, the photo below was identified after posted in social media. And we relocated it to M section(Happy Valley-Goose bay) with their names described.


Now is M2530

And this one blew was identified in our last photo identification event on 14 Nov. 2018


Now is K885

Then comes to the next step after a photo identified. In our archives, once a photo identified, there are 4 following steps to complete it.

Firstly, a number starting with a letter, which indicates its location will be assigned to it. Secondly, a photo card and a database entry including the photo descriptions will be created. They usually include the information such as: locations, date, description, source and negative number. Thirdly, the digital photo will be moved to the right section. Lastly, the negative will be relocated physically as well.

For example, Misc2707 was identified with all the information after we posted it online. As it was taken in Postville, we assigned an ID number H614 to it. Then we created a photo card and database entry for it, and relocated the photo and negative.


H614 photo card. We reuse cards

We continue to use and update our catalog cards even Access database available now, because we find it is still helpful especially for those cards who have contacts attached .


Database entry H000.614 created as well



Photo moved to H section



Negative relocated to H section

So basically that’s what I have been doing since January. It might not be as straightforward as described above, because each case varies a lot when you handle different photos/negatives. And please follow us in social media and help with #IDThemDays!

This project is funded by the Government of Canada. | Ce projet est financé par le gouvernement du Canada.





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Filed under Labrador Image Identification and Dissemination Initiative, Pei, the archives

Archive Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania


I have been back from a conference about archives in Vilnius, Lithuania a few days ago.  Here is a little report of what was happening there!

I was invited by the Institute of Lithuania Literature and Folklore to present my paper in a conference it organized in Vilnius from Oct. 17-Oct. 19.  The conference was dedicated to the Centenary of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland with the title: History, Memory and Archives: Sensitive Issues.  The paper I presented was from a research I did when I was studying in Folklore Department of Memorial University, and it was published last year in Material Cultural Review.


the building where the conference is. photo by Asta Skujytė-Razmienė

During the conference, there were two plenary sessions and nine parallel paper sessions. I presented my paper “A Case Study of How Archives Interpret the Transnational Identity of Early 20th Century Chinese Immigrants through Their Headstones in St. John’s, Canada” in session 2: Remembering, Documenting and Archiving of Sensitive Materials: Case Studies. I was quite surprised that there were another 2 papers in this sessions with similar topics surrounding funeral and death.  To prepare this presentation, I added a little bit more materials from Them Day archives such as the cemetery inscriptions collected from Red Bay and Happy Valley!  Coincidentally, our new magazine issue (which is coming soon when I am typing now!) is about Spanish Flu in Labrador in 1918, and Aimee also looked at cemetery sources to make sure we have a list of the decreased with accurate information.


I was doing presentation. photo by Asta Skujytė-Razmienė

And of course, there were many non-depressing stories in that conference. For example, I went the session 3: Archives and Information Society: New Possibilities in the Digital Era, which focuses on how to use archival resources in the digital era and what we should be careful of in collecting and making digital archives, etc. There was a scholar from Estonian Literary Museum who introduced a project he was involved in, “Estonian Place-Lore and Digital Solutions”. They made audio recordings of traditional knowledge and stories for certain places from their archival collections, and these audios can be played when people were driving through those places. They made a CD for the route from Tallinn to Tartu, so drivers can have a knowledge of where and what they are passing by (if you are not drying too fast!).  There were many more interesting researches and projects presented during that conference. I did learn a lot from an international community of archivists and folklorists, and I hope I will have more opportunities to go to conferences like this in the future to have more connections with other people working in an archival environment!

Apart from the conference, I did some travels from Helsinki down to all those three Baltic States. I have to say they were much warmer than Canada, while locating in more northern latitudes than most Canadian cities! The three Baltic countries are very small and beautiful. Just image a few hours of driving you are in another country already. It is completely contrary to Canada as well as my home country China where you drive for miles and miles and never leave the same province!  Anyways, I hope everyone can come to see these less known countries. They are definitely worth a visit.


Vilnius has a very warm autumn. besides the cathedral. Photo by myself


Lookout from the Upper Castle. Photo by myself






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Filed under Pei, travel, Uncategorized