The Humber Archives have found a home at North Campus.
An official opening was held on November 8 to celebrate the Archives new location in the North Library on the fourth floor of the Learning Resource Commons building. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday or by appointment.
John Yolkowski, manager, Archives, said the process of starting an archive at Humber began back in 2017 when Humber Libraries began to amass archival collections to celebrate the College’s 50th anniversary. This included a significant photo collection that the Archives digitized at the time to create a database.
Yolkowski said that sparked discussions about the importance of preserving Humber’s history, so it wasn’t lost to the annals of time. During the pandemic, the Archives team created a digital archive with thousands of items, but a large part of the collection is physical and can’t be transferred to digital.
“It’s important to have a physical component to the Archives because when people are connecting with an item from 50 years ago, it’s a different experience to be able to see it live,” he said. “We also wanted to have a place where people can just drop in to learn about the history of Humber and explore our collection.”
The 920 sq. ft. space houses 200,000 photographs from Humber’s past going back to the College’s first year in 1967 as well as 2,000 items including student newspapers, promotional materials, newsletters and more.
The new space will also allow for programming and events.
Outside the Archives is a mural with historical photos and some of the pillars outside the room have been wrapped with images of students from the 1960s up to the 2000s.
When asked about the importance of preserving Humber’s history for future generations, Yolkowski pointed to a comment made by student Allister John in a paper researched in the Humber Archives that outlined his experiences and engagement with Humber's Archives and history.
“But why? Why study any history, in any capacity? A friend once expressed to me the value of ‘travelling the world,’ as he paraphrased a quote he heard some time ago — we travel not to learn of another's culture, but to learn of our own. I would argue the same of history: we learn of the past to learn of ourselves," wrote John.
There are some unique artifacts in the collection, including a scrapbook made in 1967 by Doris Tallon, who was executive assistant to the College’s President Dr. Robert Gordon. Also included is an invitation to the official opening of Humber and even the seating plan from the event.
“Being able to go through the old materials, seeing the details and the aged quality, is really quite an experience and something really enjoyable,” said Yolkowski.
The Archives recently received a donation of videotapes from Humber’s Comedy: Writing and Performance program. Yolkowski notes there are gaps in the Archives collection and that they welcome donations of collections or even individual items from the Humber community.