The beginnings of the Provincial Archives of Alberta date back to 1906, when the Provincial Library was established, which collected archival material in addition to published material. There is evidence that Katherine Hughes served as the first Provincial Archivist within the Provincial Library as early as 1908.
In 1962, the Government of Alberta established a Museums Branch under the Department of the Provincial Secretary to guide the government in the establishment of a Provincial Museum and a Provincial Archive. The Branch began to accept records from government and private sources in 1963, and a year later in 1964, major acquisitions – such as the Harry Pollard photographic collection – were made by the newly established Provincial Archives.
In 1965, Hugh A. Taylor was appointed Provincial Archivist and work began on Phase I of the construction of the new Provincial Museum and Archives building on the 5.5 hectare (13 ½ acre) Government House site in the Glenora community of Edmonton. Archives holdings that had previously been kept at the Legislative Library were moved along with Museum collections to Beaver House at 10158-103 Street.
In 1966, construction on Phase II of the new building took place. Also in 1966, the first Provincial Archives Act was passed, under which the Public Documents Committee was established. This same year, the recruitment of technical and professional staff for the Provincial Archives began in earnest.
The Provincial Museum and Archives officially opened their new building in Glenora, constructed under the Confederation Memorial Grants program, on December 6, 1967. More technical, professional and administrative staff members were added during the year, and acquisitions continued to grow.
In the 1990s, it became clear the Provincial Archives had outgrown its space when it started warehousing collections, and the need for a new building became apparent. The Archives officially opened the doors to its new location, an impressive 11,000 square metre building situated on a six hectare (14.8 acre) site in southeast Edmonton on Roper Road. Funding for the construction of the new building was made possible through grants from the Alberta Centennial Legacy Project Program.