10 July 2011

City Archives Open House

There were well over 1500 visitors to the new City of Ottawa Central Archives Open House yesterday. I was up on the third floor in the Reference Room for the day and we only saw about a third of them up there. There were a number of people from the neighbourhood who had watched the structure go up but many others were interested in doing research in the archives and even some in genealogy. We should see some of them back in the future.
I was surprised at the number who did not know that the City Archives was open to the public (9am-4pm Tuesday to Friday, 10am-5pm Saturdays from Sept to May). I tried to explain the different roles of the City Archives and LAC, as it pertained to genealogy. And I assured one lady that LAC was also open to the public.
Only two thought it was a library, replacing Centrepointe, which is not true. The building also houses the Library Technical Services but that portion is not normally open to the public.
Staff provided tours to a number of areas of the building. The Reference Room staff were busy all afternoon showing the visitors around the third floor and I know others were taking people through the vault, the conservation labs and the exhibit room. Everyone seemed to be impressed by the facilities and several told me that they would be back to work on their research
The Reference Room has been open to the public since 28 June. Parking can be tight as there are still contractors working in the building but check at the security desk if you cannot find a spot. We hope to see many more genealogical researchers in the Reference Room.

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