Collections

The Yellowknife Historical Society aims to preserve the socio-economic history of Yellowknife, and to educate the public about mining and geology. These collections are held in trust for public benefit, under the stewardship of the Society’s Board of Directors. 

The society has developed a ‘Collections Policy’ to guide its objectives. The Collections Policy outlines the standards and guidelines that govern the acquisition, care, use and disposal of the society’s collections. It also defines the scope and extent of the society’s collecting activity and provides for the orderly development of its collections, to enable the society to achieve its stated goals. The Collections Policy is periodically reviewed by the Board and updated to accommodate changes in the society’s mandate.

A Collections Committee is a standing committee of the Board which oversees the collections or curatorial activities of the society and future museum. Its management authority includes the appraisal, acquisition, storage, care and maintenance, and disposal of collections.

The Society and its future museum maintain four major collections: 1) archives and photographs, 2) artifacts and memorabilia or related antiquity of Yellowknife cultural importance, 3) rock and mineral specimens representing the geology of the NWT, and 4) large machinery, vehicles, or auxiliary equipment of significant importance to Yellowknife's industrial heritage, specifically mining.

The main artifact and memorabilia collection (as of 2019) is the result of collecting efforts since 2000, reflected in 179 collections representing over 1300 individual objects. The Society maintains an inventory of 133 machinery or large auxiliary equipment items. The archives and photographs have not yet been acccurately quantified but includes about 50 photograph collections. The rock and mineral collections have not yet been properly catalogued.

The Society also maintains a secondary collection, defined to include, 1) buildings or other structures belonging to the society deemed to be of historical value, 2) an educational collection for teaching purposes or for exhibit props, 3) a replacement part inventory for maintenance and repairs of existing collections, and 4) a reference library. 

The Society keeps an up-to-date list of its collections (artifacts, equipment, memorabilia, photographs, paper archives, props), with the exception of its library and mineral specimens (under development). Access to the Society collection for public use is currently limited to special research requests.

The collection has been growing since the first material was acquired from Giant Mine in 2000-2001. A vast percentage of its records, rock samples, photographs, and mining equipment have originated from the Giant and Con gold mines, two closed sites that are now under active remediation. As the reclamation proceeds, the society has been there to save memorabilia, documents, and equipment of historical value. This includes material from many abandoned and under remediation NWT mine sites. The Society also pursues artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia from private collections.