On July 2, 2020, we are excited to reopen the Prince of Wales Armouries and the City of Edmonton Archives but things may look different from your previous visits. We have put some adjustments in place for the health and safety of our staff and visitors. These adjustments are designed to comply with public health orders and guidelines. Please call 780-496-5989 at least 2 days in advance to make an appointment for your visit to the Archives. The appointment will have a specific time for you to enter the building to help with physical distancing and allow us time to pull the materials you want to view. Plan your visit accordingly.
Please note: the Archives has a Scent-Free policy for staff and visitors.
Search Our Online Catalogue
Our online catalogue features digitized images and documents, and finding aids for our corporate and private fonds and collections. It’s a good idea to search our catalogue ahead of your visit. When you find something you’d like to have a closer look at you can contact us and we’ll put the material on hold for you.
We’ve prepared a guide to searching our catalogue. Unfortunately, although we’re adding content to our online catalogue as quickly as we can, it still is only part of our holdings.
During the post-COVID-19 reopening, we encourage you to search our online catalogue before talking to an archivist. Due to limited appointment hours, we would like to ensure that your material is ready for you when you arrive.
Did you know that until relatively recently an Edmonton councillor was called an alderman? Try searching our online catalogue for councillor and then for alderman and see the difference.
When you contact us with your research interests (file numbers from our finding aids are very helpful!) we retrieve material of interest we can retrieve it and have it on hold ready for your visit. Please be aware that there are times of limited service where we don’t do retrievals.
In addition, we might not have the records you are looking for and then we can let you know who does. For example, we don’t have homestead records as they are at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
We may also be able to answer simple research questions for you directly. For researchers who are unable to come to the Archives, requiring more than a half hour of searching, referrals may be possible.
What to Expect When You Get Here
Archives are a little different from other cultural institutions like museums and libraries. On the one hand, you are able to use original records directly (unlike a museum). On the other, our stacks are closed (unlike a library) which means you can’t browse the shelves or take anything out on loan.
There are also rules to using the records and some of them may seem strict. But everything we do is based on common sense and is grounded on care for the records. Basically, the care of the records trump everything because they are unique and irreplaceable (some are even valuable) and we don’t get second chances with them.
When you arrive at the Archives you must check in (in case of emergency evacuation). Put your coat, bag, pens, water bottles and so on into a secure locker. This applies to everyone and there are no exceptions.
You are required to wear a mask. We are unable to provide masks.
We have 2 reasons to limit what goes into the reference room:
Accidents happen. Archivists at the City of Edmonton Archives don’t even have food or drink in their offices. There are areas in the Prince of Wales Armouries for researchers to take breaks and food and drink is allowed there.
We need to make sure documents aren’t being stolen in bags or folders. So, we have a blanket ban on personal items in the reference room.
After depositing everything except note-taking aids in a locker, you will be referred to the table where your material has been placed.
Amenities and Self Service
There is no admission charge to the Prince of Wales Armouries and the City of Edmonton Archives provides researchers with parking, a lunch area, and wireless internet. There is also a small exhibit area.
There are several self-serve research options available in our reference room including:
- Finding aids
- Access to our online catalogue
- Card catalogues for our photographs and maps
- Aerial photographs of the City of Edmonton (1924-1997)
- Fire insurance maps
- Copies of historic maps of Edmonton and area (originals are available on request)
- Henderson’s Directories
- Newspapers on microfilm
- Phone books and yellow pages
Some material is temporarily unavailable for health reasons, and we can provide gloves.