Seven Oaks Historical Photos archived online

November 18, 2014

A unique partnership has preserved the history of Seven Oaks General Hospital and made thousands of historical photographs available on a new web site.

Although Seven Oaks General Hospital is the youngest of Winnipeg’s community hospital it has a very rich history of community involvement and innovation that is now preserved for posterity in the Faculty of Medicine Archives at the Hugh John Maclean Library at University of Manitoba.

IMage of former Prime Minister Jean Chretien

One of the 3000 images from the online photo archive. Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited the Wellness Institute shortly after it opened in 1997.

It’s the only hospital other than Health Sciences Centre represented in the medical archives as a result of the partnership between Seven Oaks General Hospital, University of Manitoba Library (which has an on-site medical library at Seven Oaks) and the Faculty of Medicine Archives. The project to create the web site and digitize the materials was supported by small grants from the Manitoba Heritage Grants Program and the Winnipeg Foundation.

The entire collection will be accessible to Seven Oaks and to researchers who visit the archives, but the web site representation of the collection is extensive and displays over 3000 photos.

The web site is organized into series that track events, construction, renovation, fund raising and other significant elements of the hospital which opened in 1981, but was conceived in North End organizing in the 1950’s. Two histories of the hospital, one written shortly after it opened, and another for its 20th anniversary in 2001, have also been digitized and added to the site.

The archives also include an extensive collection of materials about the more recent origins of the Wellness Institute which has been recognized as a national leader in chronic disease management and prevention.

Newly formed organizations are typically forward thinking, and don’t often consider how to preserve documents and materials that will later form an important part of our community history. For that reason, materials are often lost, damaged and destroyed before anyone realizes that significant elements of the historical record are slipping away.

The community involvement that is represented in the history of Seven Oaks Hospital will continue as part of the online archives which has an interactive component. In every section users are invited to add comments and fill out the historical record with names and dates and places. If you are someone who has been touched by Seven Oaks Hospital in anyway, you might want to log on and add your comments at http://umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/health/archives/SOGH_archives.html

The partnership that created the project has been presented as a poster at two academic conferences by Librarian Kerry MacDonald who was instrumental in connecting Seven Oaks with Archivist Jordan Bass. The three organizations worked together to get the funding to hire archival student Elizabeth-Anne Johnson.