Large online photo database available from Arrow Lakes Historical Society

The database currently has 1,500 of the historical society's nearly 20,000 photos.

The Arrow Lakes Historical Society (ALHS) website has an exciting new addition.

A searchable database of 1,500 of the society’s collection of historical photographs is now available for public viewing.

The idea came about as a way to promote the historical society and what it does.

“Larger archives and larger historical societies usually have a database where people can browse photos, but a lot of smaller ones, like ours, don’t usually have that,” said Kyle Kusch, a member of ALHS. “When you’re dealing with historical research, there are a lot of people from out of town, out of province, out of country, and they can’t fly all the way down to Nakusp to browse through photos for a couple of hours.”

This is where the photo database comes in handy.

An image search bar at the top of the website home page (alhs-archives.com) allows access to the photos. From Arrowhead to Edgewood, or Saddle Mountain to St. Leon there is something for everyone.

The process was made possible through Library and Archives Canada and their Documentary Heritage Communities Program. After receiving funding, ALHS was able to begin the process.

“We started in January, and enlisted Stefan Klopp, who was kind enough to donate a lot of his expertise,” said Kusch. “He spent about a month designing the mechanics of the whole thing, and we spent February and a bit of March tinkering with it.”

During this time, Kusch was digitizing photos, as well as entering information and uploading photos.

This is only one stage of the process. Kusch and ALHS have a long way to go yet.

“Now that we’ve got this done, we want to take it to Library and Archives Canada and say ‘Look at what we’ve done, can we get more funding to finish this off?’ There are 15,000 to 20,000 photos waiting to go online.”

Copies of photographs can be ordered from the historical society office, located in the addition to the Centennial Building, behind the library and museum. The historical society is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.