Jane Arnold is an archivist at the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University. Arnold also participates as a board member with Heritage Cape Breton Connection, the Old Sydney Society and works with the Council of Nova Scotia Archives. Her research examines issues relating to the historical preservation and archiving of Canadian Armed Forces records, the history of the Cape Breton Highlanders at the Beaton Institute Archives and the importance of retaining personal accounts as primary source material within historical research. Bringing the archival perspective into our conference is particularly important, as Arnold’s work on military sources in the archive offers insight into how source selection and availability plays a role in the type of military histories that are written and presented to the public.
Documenting Service: Archival Approaches to Cape Breton’s Military Heritage
Over the past few years, the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University has been completing various archival projects related to military milestones including the 100th anniversary of World War I and 75th anniversary of World War II. The Beaton Institute is a regional archive serving communities in all four counties of Cape Breton Island, and the holdings include a broad representation of military service over a span of more than three centuries.
With the support of funding from the Provincial Archival Development Fund (PADP), the Beaton Institute is currently focused on preserving, providing access and promoting records related specifically to the history and legacy of the Cape Breton Highlanders. Goals of the project include supporting researchers and scholarly initiatives, as well as connecting with local partners such as the Cape Breton Highlanders Association to provide access to previously inaccessible collections. This presentation will provide an overview of the completed work to-date including digitization efforts, an exploration of new online resources and a discussion related to public engagement through social media. A preview of the new Virtual Museums of Canada digital exhibition, Cape Breton and the First World War will also be included.