Department of Tourism and Culture

Yukon Archives

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How to donate to Yukon Archives

When you donate to Yukon Archives, your story becomes part of the Yukon’s collective memory.

How to Donate

Please contact us to make an appointment to discuss your donation. We will then arrange to meet with you, if you are in the Yukon, or otherwise learn about the material you are offering to Yukon Archives.

If you are donating a small number of publications to the library, these can be dropped off during open hours, with no appointment necessary. For larger donations, please contact us with a list of titles or to arrange a meeting to show us the material. In most cases, paperwork is not required for library donations.

If you wish to donate records to the archives, we encourage you to contact us first. Yukon Archives staff are not always readily available for drop-ins and we need to collect background information on the records and the creator in order to assess how well the material fits with our mandate. This should happen before the records are dropped off.

It is difficult to generalize about the types of records we accept from individuals, families, organizations and businesses because a body of records varies greatly from one donor to another. We find that donors are sometimes surprised to learn what we consider to be historically valuable. Yukon Archives holds a wide assortment of records. For examples, see About the Yukon Archives Collections.

You can help us determine whether your records would be a good fit in our holdings by preparing some background information about your potential donation. Describe for us the approximate size or extent of the donation, identify its date range and provide a narrative description of what the material consists of (e.g. reports, diaries, photographs, etc.) and who created it.

The donation process can be very quick (a few days from start to finish) or longer (a few months) depending on the nature and complexity of the donation and any particulars that might encumber it. Your records will be assessed by an archivist to ensure they fit Yukon Archives’ acquisition criteria. If they are accepted, they will be transferred under a signed donation agreement.

Your Questions

I scanned some family photographs and made a photocopy of some diaries. Would the Archives like to have these?

No, thank-you. Originals matter to us because they are the most authentic form of a document; copies involve some loss of fidelity. We would, however, be very interested in learning more about the original images and written records created by your family and, if they fit our mandate, we might like to acquire them.

Do you take objects from the gold rush?

We are interested in gold rush-era diaries, letters, and photographs: records which document the history of Yukon. Artifacts are better cared for in a museum than an archives or library and we recommend that you contact one of the many Yukon museums if you have objects to donate.

I have copies of Yukon related records from another archives. Can I donate these copies?

Yukon Archives does not accept copies of records reproduced from other archives, libraries or repositories. We do this so that we may devote our resources to caring for unique and original records rather than those already being cared for elsewhere.

Can I donate computer files, like jpegs, Word documents and emails?

Yukon Archives is in the initial stages of developing a digital preservation management program. We are currently building capacity to be able to accept, preserve and make accessible digital materials. If you have computer files that you feel meet our mandate, please contact us to discuss what we may be able to accept now and in the future.

Why do I need to fill out paperwork for an archival records donation?

We need to learn about what you are donating, how it was created, maintained, its significance, and who you are. Donation agreements are required for even the smallest of donations. Even if you are more than happy to drop off your records and allow Yukon Archives to preserve and provide access to them in any manner we see fit, we still need to be able to prove ownership and document donor expectations to avoid confusion that might arise at a later date. A donation receipt signed by both the donor and the Territorial Archivist is a formal, legal agreement that transfers ownership of, and legal rights in, the materials to be donated.

How does Yukon Archives decide whether to accept my archival records donation?

Yukon Archives considers the following factors when deciding whether to acquire specific records:

  • the authorized mandates of Yukon Archives and other institutions;
  • the records as a unitary whole, not simply as an accumulation of discrete items;
  • the resources required to make the records available for research in a reasonable period of time;
  • the records’ relationship to the strengths and weaknesses in Yukon Archives’ existing holdings;
  • the availability of appropriate facilities for the storage of the records;
  • the extent and terms of restrictions a potential donor intends to place on the records;
  • the physical condition of the records in relation to the effort, resources, and ability to conserve them for a reasonable/indefinite period of time.

How does Yukon Archives decide whether to accept my library donation?

Yukon Archives considers the following factors when deciding whether to acquire library donations:

  • Whether the publications fit into the library’s focus for collecting. This includes:
    • Non-fiction about the Yukon or neighbouring jurisdictions as well as polar regions
    • Fiction and other works of the imagination with Yukon settings and characters, northern Canadian or Alaskan settings or works with themes relevant to the Yukon such as the North West Mounted Police, the fur trade, mining and prospecting, and First Nations
  • Whether the publications are already represented in the Archives

Can I bequeath material to Yukon Archives?

Yes, you can leave records or publications to Yukon Archives in your will. However, you should contact the Archives before including such a provision in your will to ensure that the material meets Yukon Archives’ acquisition policy.

What happens to my stuff after I donate it?

Records will first be accessioned, which is the process of assigning a unique number to and documenting the transfer of the records into the Archives. Your records will then be processed for researchers to use. Processing can involve arranging the records (although the goal is to maintain the order established by the person who created them), re-housing them into appropriate folders and boxes, attending to any preservation requirements, and describing them so that researchers can read and search this description to find the information they need. Description can vary from a general or overall explanation of the material as a whole down to a description of individual items, such as the content and format of photographs. These descriptions are entered into a database and they are made available for patrons to search both online and in our reading room.

If you donate a library title, it will be catalogued and made available through the Public Access Catalogue. To allow enhanced access, part of the cataloguing process includes adding local subject headings, adding either a table of content note or a short summary content note, and noting special features such as handwritten annotations and limited edition runs to the catalogue record. The public access catalogue is keyword, author, title and call number searchable. Depending upon the age of the title an e-book link may be added to the record if a digital copy is available on the Internet.

All material is stored in our secure vault.

How does the public gain access to my donation?

Researchers visiting Yukon Archives view material in our research room. Patrons may place reproduction requests for material subject to the Copyright Act and any institutional restrictions. Subsequent patron use of material is also governed by institutional policies. Yukon Archives makes some material available through its websites. Under most circumstances, archival and library material is not available for loan or circulation. Upon donation, staff will discuss access further.

Can I make a financial donation?

Financial donations are accepted by the Friends of Yukon Archives on behalf of Yukon Archives. You can discuss, with FOYAS, the kind of endeavor you are interested in supporting. A financial contribution could range from supporting the acquisition of new material to the processing of material already owned by the Archives, or targeting certain items in our holdings for preservation or access projects.