History is made every minute, so it’s safe to say that capturing and documenting it is a never-ending task. Likewise, technology is changing every minute as well and what’s new is old before you can even finish your sentence.
The City of Selkirk is marrying these two constantly evolving realities to launch a virtual version of Selkirk’s museum that will be community owned.
Let your Smartphone guide you
Your Smartphone will be your guide as you make your way around the city to learn the significance behind our street names, the waterfront, steel industry and so much more.
“Rather than have a museum for the city, we’re going to convert the city into a museum through your digital device,” said Selkirk Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol.
“Through your phone, you’re at the intersection of the past and the present.”
This first phase of what will lead in the long term to an actual building to house the city’s artifacts and records builds on the vision laid out in the Capturing Our Shared Heritage paper and the realized benefits of the Selkirk Heritage Endowment Fund (SHEF). That vision is an online hub that delivers an engaging, interactive and inspiring heritage experience to citizens and visitors alike.
Ever-changing, just like history
Your link to the past is www.selkirkmuseum.ca and the launch puts you into the building stages of the website, which is optimized for viewing on your phone or tablet. The site is not complete, and according to Nicol, it never will be.
“The reason why we’re opening it this early with limited artifacts at this point is sort of a proof of concept, to get some feedback from people and to see how the site is being used,” Nicol said.
“Our vision is that it never is quite complete.”
The museum aligns with the city’s strategic plan by capitalizing on Selkirk’s tourism potential, revitalizing Selkirk’s image, providing the best possible recreation opportunities for Selkirk residents and revitalizing downtown.
City council has adopted a strategy and established a steering committee that is building the foundation of the museum. The strategy has been developed to guide the establishment of the virtual museum and community archive for City of Selkirk.
The strategy dictates that the site be innovative and nimble and in a constant state of construction. Public input is welcome and will also guide the site’s development. Long-term goals also include an app that will further enhance your experience and include video, audio, historical re-enactments and stories of personal history told by Selkirk residents.
“In time we want to make it a multi media experience, so it’s not just the text and the photos, but it’ll also be video and audio, we’ve got the capacity built in for that,” Nicol said.
The site contains a digital archive that is linked to the museum page and expands upon it. The archive will include city records and bylaws as well as searchable, newspapers dating back to 1880 that will open up a world of information for anyone looking to research Selkirk of unlock their family history.
Chris McIvor, the City’s Information Technology Administrator, said the museum site makes use of open source web and database software, which makes it secure and affordable.
Open source software is available to the public and free to use.
“It gives the software a wide community of developers, so you’re not linked to a company that might go south some day,” McIvor said.
Discover the streets of Selkirk
The site now contains a self-guided tour of the Streets of Selkirk. The website has an interactive map and includes an icon showing where you are on the tour and guides you to all the stops on the tour. In the streets tour, when you arrive at a specified street, you will be able to click on that street and read about its history. The streets tour concentrates on streets along Eveline Street, and is the first of many tours that will be added as the site evolves.
Eventually, the app will notify users when they pass a place of historical significance and people will be able to contribute pieces of history they have in their possession to the museum for documentation.
Nicol said the long-term goal is still to have a physical museum presence, but the community-owned, ‘virtual’ museum will fill the gap until that time. The virtual portion will provide a real-time, interactive, heritage experience. It’s design will assume that visitors are within the city and will encourage visitors to see and personally experience historical points of interest.
Discover the past here.