The Alder Grove Heritage Society has many collections in its possession. Many know us as “the telephone museum” but we are really so much more than telephones. Our society is undergoing a bit of metamorphosis right now – finding, cataloguing, tracking, photographing, digitizing and inventorying all of the items, documents, photographs, books, maps and other holdings in the building is a lengthy process, which has been made even more challenging with the current health situation and the tight spaces in our little building. It is amazing how much material is held in the museum – it seems like every time we are there, we find something new in a place we didn’t expect to find anything. The proper processing of all of the museum’s holdings will take time, and the society is always looking for new members who would be interested in taking part in this activity.
Here is just a small sample of the collections currently undergoing cataloguing:
The Langmann Family – Aldergrove Star Collection: The Langmann family was kind enough to donate approximately 50 000 photographs and negatives covering several years’ worth of news photography. These photos are in the process of being scanned and made ready for sharing. The family also donated many back-issues of Aldergrove newspapers, and the society holds an almost-complete library of 70 years’ worth of news. Many of the papers are very fragile, but they will be digitized and indexed for virtual access. UPDATE: In July 2021, Kurt Langmann donated 29 rolls of microfilm and a microfilm reader. The microfilms hold the complete run of the Aldergrove Star from 1957 – 1991. This will exponentially speed up the digitization process. AGHS is in the process of applying for a grant to completely digitize the films. When this process is complete, the records will be made available online, with free access. Kurt also donated over 100 non-fiction books about local, provincial and national history, along with several years’ worth of Beautiful BC magazines and other periodical publications. Also included in the collection are several Pete Swensson photos and prints. All are in the process of being catalogued and recorded. Once this is complete, the collection will be available at the museum to researchers and members.
The BPOE Lodge 66 Aldergrove Collection: The Aldergrove Elks has entrusted the Alder Grove Heritage Society with its entire archive, dating back to its start in the early 1920s. Along with the Elks records are many items pertaining to the Order of the Royal Purple, the ladies’ side of the Lodge. These items are being sorted and organized, they will then be digitized and made available for virtual access.
Vintage Telephone Directories: This collection has been saved from the dark depths of our crawlspace, has been catalogued, photographed and is in the process of being matched with museum records and indexed. Once this process is complete, the index will be published. Many of the older directories are very fragile, so will not be available to the general public. A decision will be made as to how to make their contents available to all.
Women’s Institute Records: We are not certain at this stage which records are held for which WI groups, but we do know that we have 4 boxes from the Coghlan Women’s Institute, as well as some from the Patricia Women’s Institute and perhaps some from the Aldergrove Women’s Institute. Once we are able to locate all of the Women’s Institute materials, they will be sorted and catalogued in preparation of photographing and digitizing.
Hotel Guest Registers: At this time, we are certain that we have one guest book from the Western Home Hotel (later the Aldergrove Hotel) covering the years 1910-1914. This book has been scanned and a reproduction of the original is available for viewing at the museum. We also have at least one guest book for the Rose Garden Motel from the early 1970s. This book has not yet been scanned, but it is available for viewing, also at the museum.
Newspaper Clippings: There are several unindexed newspaper clippings in several different files. These will take some time to sort and index before they can be made available on our site.
Obituaries: The society has a large collection of obituaries covering several years. Again, these will take some time to properly sort and index before they can be made available on our site.
The Place Between Family Files: While volumes 1 and 2 of the society’s two history books were being researched, hundreds of family stories and photographs were collected. They are held in several file cabinets, and while they are in alphabetical order, and some were transcribed onto computer, not all are available in a current file format that can be read by today’s technology. We probably should have kept some of those vintage computers. (We actually have some up in the attic that might still work.)
School Records and Photographs: The society has boxes and binders full of local school photographs – many from County Line School as well as Aldergrove Elementary. They are in the process of being catalogued and digitized. Most do not have names, so we’ll be looking for help naming all of those kids once the photographs are put online. The society also has many forms of school records – annuals from Aldergrove Secondary School, student council scrapbooks, PTA records, attendance records, guest sign-ins (with one from the late 1880s), student attendance records, report cards and items I’m sure we haven’t yet located.
Business Memorabilia: Invoices, sales slips, promotional calendars and give-aways, inventory lists, land deeds – we have many from several local businesses, many of which are long gone.
We also have community group information, some land title information, lots of maps, local history books and objects that were once owned and used by our pioneer citizens. As you can see, our museum is more than meets the eye. We look forward to sharing our treasures with all of you.