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Before a museum or historical archives can share information with the public, it needs to know what information it has.

The St. Boniface Historical Society wants to make its Centre du patrimoine archives more accessible, with money earned through its endowment fund. It’s adding $75,000 to that endowment fund thanks to fundraising efforts and the province’s Heritage Trust Program.

The Manitoba Heritage Trust Program, administered by The Winnipeg Foundation, matches one dollar to every two raised.

Sports, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox says the trust program is about providing incentive for community foundations and communities to support local museums and archives.

“We have $5-million contributed to the Heritage Trust Program over a three-year period,” says Minister Cox.

Michel Lagacé, board chair of the St. Boniface Historical Society, says their endowment fund is now nearing $1-million dollars, and they’ve already used money from the fund to hire staff to process documents for part of the year. They’re hoping to make that a full-time position down the road.

“We’ve got to process the archives we have. That’s the key to an archives. Once you know what you have, then you can find it. It’s as simple as that,” says Lagacé.

According to Lagacé, the Society also works to increase access to its archives through digitization, by building research tools for the web, and through exhibits, such as its travelling exhibit on architect Étienne Gaboury.

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