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Engagement Strategies in a Rural County: An Elgin County Archives Experience


Making Connections with Green Screen Time Travel and Increasing Awareness with Workshops.

Since 2017, the Elgin County Archives has been redeveloping our outreach strategy to increase our presence in the local community and to ensure that we are delivering on our mission to serve as a total community resource.

In October 2017, we launched Time Travel with Elgin County Archives, an outreach program that uses green screen technology to photograph participants and superimpose them into historical photographs to make it appear as if they are traveling back in time. The Green Screen events were held at local libraries, community events, schools and long-term care homes. In its first year, there were nearly 700 participants in the program. We received the 2019 AAO Institutional Award for this program. 

Creating opportunities like this, to be visible in the community, has allowed us to make meaningful connections with community members who otherwise may not have interacted with us.

We have also recognized the need for the public to become more aware of research tools and resources, both in the archives and online, in the areas of Property History and Genealogy. In September 2018, we began to deliver workshops at local libraries and at community organization meetings, which cover these topics.  These workshops have allowed us to increase awareness about the archives in general, and about the resources and services we offer. 

In this session, I will outline the preparation required, as well as the materials and equipment necessary, to carry out our Green Screen program, and Property History and Genealogy workshops. I will also discuss the benefits, challenges and outcomes of these programs. 


Gina Dewaele

Gina holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Winnipeg and a Masters of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Western Ontario (2002) and has been the Archivist Assistant at the Elgin County Archives since October 2002. She has been the Secretary-Treasurer of MAIG since 2014, and the Treasurer of SWOC since 2010. She has also served on the ARCHEION Committee of the AAO. She has enjoyed expanding her knowledge in the areas of archival databases, and property history and genealogy research during her career with the Elgin County Archives. 

Recorded Presentation

The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) is led by a committed community of volunteers from across the province. 

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