March 12, 2019

Dear Members,

Glenbow is undergoing some tremendous and exciting changes, and I wanted to share our plans with you. I invite you to participate and get in touch if you have any questions.

Last fall, we announced the relocation of Glenbow’s treasured Library and Archives to the University of Calgary to establish the Glenbow Western Research Centre in the heart of campus. This is a bold, exciting initiative that promises innovative new learning opportunities for both community and academic researchers. 

This move will allow Glenbow to collaborate with an outstanding learning organization whose research interests are closely aligned with our collection.

The University will also be able to provide greater public access to our amazing resources, free of charge.

The move will allow Glenbow to strategically focus on our role as Calgary’s public art museum.

Glenbow’s knowledgeable and experienced staff have a deep understanding of every aspect of the Library & Archives collection and how it is used.  Their commitment and dedication has established Glenbow’s Library and Archives’ reputation across the country as an exemplary and outstanding research centre.  No book, film, movie, family gathering, or thesis about western Canada can be produced without their assistance, and they have contributed enormously to our understanding of the West.

So this is a bittersweet move for them and for the thousands of visitors, volunteers and researchers who have called Glenbow’s sixth floor home for nearly 50 years. We thank them profoundly for their dedication and professionalism. 

The process to physically move these expansive collections has begun, and I can’t think of a better team than the staff from Glenbow and the University of Calgary working together to oversee the challenge of moving millions of records, books, photographs, maps, diaries, journals and business files as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We are relocating:
5,500 Linear Metres of Textual Records
125,000 Books
2,000,000 Photographs
600 Hours of Audio Recordings
4,000 Videos and Films
15,000 Maps

University of Calgary’s staff at Libraries and Cultural Resources are very experienced at moving large collections, having moved over 8 million books and records from the old Mackimmie Library building into the new Taylor Family Digital Library and High Density Library a few years ago. They also have state-of-the-art storage and environmental conditions and a passion for connecting researchers with the material they need.

Working with Glenbow’s Library and Archives staff, with their extensive knowledge of the resources contained in Glenbow’s collections, the combined team has been focused on the reviewing, cataloguing and packing process. The process of methodically going through the content of these collections has illuminated the fact that the Glenbow Western Research is an exciting fit and offers impressive possibilities for research and learning. The University of Calgary’s Archives and Special Collections will complement Glenbow’s resources, offering intriguing new areas for researchers and the public to explore.

These two teams are learning a lot about the process and about each other. Shining through the discussions is a shared and profound commitment to the needs and service to the researcher, whether an academic writing a scholarly article or a grandchild looking for a photo of her grandfather.

This is an unprecedented initiative, and we don’t know exactly how long the move will take, but the University has established a website where you can keep track of the progress and find where the collections are currently located. 

Thank you for your support and understanding as we move through this historic transition and please contact me if you have any questions. 

Other activities taking place at Glenbow:

  • We have recently transformed the Art of Asia gallery with three bold new exhibitions that showcase more of our modernist and contemporary art collection. We will represent aspects of the Asian art collection in the coming years in other galleries.
  • We have recently announced an expanded Board of Governors whose diverse perspectives and experience will lead us through our exciting future.
  • Our paid attendance is increasing, memberships are up, and our new exhibitions are attracting great crowds!

As always, Glenbow continues to evolve, responding to a community that has changed enormously since we were formed 50 years ago. We are grateful for your support as we move ahead!

Donna Livingstone
President and CEO