Archival Research: Early Federal Influence

After a very intensive week in the Dawson City Museum (DCM) archives, I am sorting, reading, and analyzing what I found. The documents scanned are interesting and contributing to the narrative(s) about the DCM’s development. In order to help with the analysis, the “Archival Research” series considers the stories archival materials tell, looking at the items I found most exciting.   

Within this post, I am considering an instance of early federal influence on Yukon community museum policy. The federal government started a grant for operating funding to community museums in Yukon. When they stopped, the Yukon government stepped up. Here is a letter describing the change:

MacKenzie, K. 1961, December. Letter to the Dawson Museum & Historical Society. Correspondence Roy minister 1961-2. Box 39. Dawson City Museum Archives.

Why is this letter interesting?

The letter shows that the federal government originated operational funding to Yukon community museums. They gave the Dawson City Museum (DCM) and MacBride $500 each, starting in the late 1950s. However, the grant did not last.

When the grant ended in 1961-62, these museums began receiving funding from the territorial government as registered societies engaged in tourism related activities. In other words, the territory continued a source of funding originally established by the federal government.

Is there broader relevance?

Federal influence on Yukon community museum policy is a significant theme in my research. The operating grant provides an early example.

The Old Territorial Administration Building is another. When the Museum began occupying the space for 5$ a month, it was under federal jurisdiction. Then, when the territorial government became responsible for the building, the Museum was already there and continued to occupy the space. I discuss the issue of rent here.

Moving forward, I will continue to consider federal action when seeking explanations for territorial policy development. As this letter demonstrates, federal initiative seems to be critical to explaining the development of Yukon community museum policy.


What do you think? Do you know of other instances where federal action significantly influenced territorial activity?

Other Archival Research Posts

The Issue of Rent

The Beringia Center as Competitor

A Community of Community Museums?

Arguments Against Centralization

Community Mobilized

Too Much for One Person

Overwhelming Obstacles

Government Relationships

2 thoughts on “Archival Research: Early Federal Influence

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: