Archives, museums, libraries, and galleries generally pride themselves on the accuracy of the information they provide to their users. Careful research is carried out and the general public trust the staff of these institutions to explain their contents in a reliable way.
Historical materials often only survive by chance: some of these fragments of the past find their way into collecting institutions like the Community Archives or Glanmore National Historic Site, but many do not. And historians, librarians, archivists, and curators are human beings who can be mistaken, deceived, or dishonest, just like everybody else.
We are living in a world where truth can be hard to determine. In our first ever show in the John M. Parrott Gallery, we are sharing a series of images from the Community Archives with accompanying stories. These stories contain a lot of facts and some of them are true. But there are also some complete fabrications.
We are inviting people to explore our exhibit and to see if they can tell fact from fiction. We are also inviting them to think about who they can trust, and about the stories that cannot be told, because fragments of evidence about those people did not survive into the present, or were never created in the first place.
If you like any of the pictures, we are offering them as prizes in a draw at the end of the show. Entrants just need to tell us which stories they think are true, and which picture they would like to take home with them. On February 14th we will draw the winners’ names.
Thank you to Mike Gaudaur of Quinte Studios for making our images look so beautiful, and to Trevor Pross, Holly Dewar, and Susan Holland of the Belleville Public Library and John M. Parrott Gallery for the opportunity of putting on this exhibit. Additional thanks to Community Archives volunteers Trevor Parsons and Marilyn Wood for helping to come up with stories for some of the images.