In The Archives

Inside the Provincial Archives of Alberta’s vaults are literally millions of primary sources that document a tiny portion of our province's history, from photographs and audio recordings to government records and maps.

Government Records:

The Provincial Archives of Alberta is the official repository for records of the Government of Alberta and its departments that are of historical significance. The Provincial Archives also collects records from private donors outside of government. Overall, the holdings of the Provincial Archives amount to over 40,000 linear meters.

  • The Archives holds collections for each of Alberta's Premiers, including correspondence, speeches, reports and office fonds.

Learn more about our Government Records.

Private Textual Records:

People from all walks of life provide valuable information about the creation and growth of the unique society which is Alberta, as individuals, and through the organizations they form to carry on their work, their leisure, their political and social concerns, and their religious beliefs. Our private textual records include materials such as:

  • Personal letters and correspondence
  • Diaries and journals
  • Operational records of Alberta businesses, corporations and organizations
  • Records and minutes from faith organizations, clubs and community groups

Some of our notable private text collections include:

  • Records of entertainer Tommy Banks
  • The records of Anthony Hlynka, who at one time was the only elected representative of Ukrainian descent in the world
  • The diaries of Jack and Gladys Fitzsimmons, chronicling the lives of ordinary Albertans from 1945 until 2000

Learn more about our Private Records and our MUSH Records

Photographs:

The Provincial Archives houses over 1.2 million photographs documenting Alberta's past and moments both big and small in our history and the history of Albertans. Our holdings include the work of early photographers and studios, government departments, newspapers, and amateur photographers depicting events, activities, communities and family members.

Moving Images:

The Provincial Archives contains 53,595 objects of audiovisual holdings including film, video and audio recordings. Our holdings include:

  • Private home videos
  • Government productions
  • Feature length films
  • Advertising and commercial materials
  • Documentaries
  • Television broadcasts
  • Oral history recordings of pioneers
  • Broadcasts, events, and legislative proceedings
  • Music

Search our Multimedia Collection

**Access and Preservation Services notice**

Please note that it could take up to 90 days to make all requested audiovisual materials accessible. The turnaround time will also depend on the amount of media requested and the complexities of the media.

Unfortunately, due to the age of the media and equipment, it is impossible to provide immediate access to the PAA’s film, video, or audio holdings.

All requested material requires assessment, treatment, and digitization before it is accessible. Once digitized, we will be able to provide a CD or DVD copy for access in the reading room.

If you have any questions, please contact Terry O’Riordan, Audiovisual Conservator, at 780.427.0236 or terry.o'riordan@gov.ab.ca

Maps, Architectural Drawings, and Blueprints:

The Provincial Archives holds over 100,000 maps, plans and drawings almost entirely devoted to Alberta. The earliest date from 1770; cumulatively, these maps, plans and drawings chronicle the changing shape and development of Alberta and the west.

Learn more about our Cartographic Records (Maps)

Newspapers

Housed on microfilm are hundreds of newspapers from communities both large and small tracing events throughout Alberta's history.

See a full listing of our Newspaper holdings

Genealogical Sources:

The Provincial Archives holds a number of resources of interest to genealogists, including vital statistics records, local history books, census records, homestead records, ship passenger lists, directories and probate records.

Learn more about our Genealogical Sources