by Laura Authier
I love history. I love looking at old photographs and being surprised by what looks different and even more surprised by what looks the same. I love old video footage – getting to know the gestures and intonations of people who have been captured in time. I love flipping through old books and magazines, looking at advertisements for products that have long since disappeared, and breathing in that intoxicating old-book smell.
If you identify with any of the above, then I have some exciting news. Some of the vast SMUS archival collection has been brought to life online through the new Wilson Interactive Archives at archives.smus.ca. The new site features more than 1000 archival files, including a large collection of photos dating back to the founding of University School and St. Michael’s School, video footage from the last 30 years, and every yearbook ever published by University School, St. Michael’s School and SMUS.
Born out of an idea and financial support from alumnus Hugh McGillivray ’64, the Wilson Interactive Archives was created to engage us, to inspire us and to connect our present-day experiences at SMUS with our long and rich past. Besides providing a digital archive that is keyword-searchable, this release also features Name that Photo, where members of the SMUS community can help our archivist Brenda Waksel fill in any missing details in our archival records like names, dates, places and events. SMUS community members are also invited to contribute to the Wilson Interactive Archive by uploading their own photos, scanned documents or video.
Future releases of the website will include an interactive timeline that will tell our story with photos, audio and video, as well as other interactive tools that will allow you to use the archival collection to tell your own story.
The website launch also marks the debut of the Wilson Archives video series – short vignettes that celebrate the seminal moments and the key people in our school’s history. Watch the video below about the year SMUS went co-ed, then visit the Wilson Interactive Archive to see the other two videos in the series, one of which chronicles the life of W.W. Bolton, and the other capturing the reminiscences of three generations of SMUS alums.
Fun things to do with the Wilson Interactive Archive:
- Try finding yearbook photos of SMUS teachers and alums Xavier Abrioux, David Lynch, Stephanie Geehan, Mat Geddes, Ian Farish, Craig Farish, Jane Rees. Yearbooks can be found by searching for the year.
- Watch the 1982 movie Ups and Downs, which was filmed on campus and starred a number of SMUS students that went on to careers in film and television, including Leslie Hope and Andrew Sabiston. The movie also featured music by then-student Tim Williams.
- Browse through our archival images of famous alumni by searching for names like Steve Nash.
- Marvel at how much things have changed in Victoria by scanning the advertisements at the back of old issues of the The Black and Red.