Over the course of a year, the Edmonton and District Historical Society touches the lives of many people. Hundreds attend our speakers and bus tours, thousands of children benefit from educational enrichment opportunities, and tens of thousands explore their community through the historic festival. This work is done through the hard work of EDHS’ volunteers and board members, though as I’ve discovered, there are many others involved as well.
Being a board member of EDHS over the past four and a half years has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people and work with a huge number of different groups, and I’ve realized that the heritage scene in Edmonton is a complex and interconnected beast.
EDHS is one of several local organizations interested in our area’s history. As an independent volunteer-run not-for-profit charitable organization, and with the most diverse programming, we fill a unique niche in this area. However, we still interact with complementary groups with similar values, such as the Edmonton Historical Board, the Edmonton Heritage Council, the Edmonton Regional Heritage Fair, and the Northern Alberta Pioneers & Descendants Association.
As a chapter of the Historical Society of Alberta, EDHS works with the provincial body and the four other provincial chapters. We also work with other groups funded by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation where we can, including the Alberta Genealogical Society, the Archaeological Society of Alberta, the Alberta Museums Association, and the Archives Society of Alberta.
We work with the Edmonton Public School Board, through which we provide our History in the Schools program, and we work with the Fort Heritage Precinct in Fort Saskatchewan where we subsidise bussing for student field trips. We liaise with a huge number of businesses, archives, museums, municipalities, and other organizations during our annual Historic and Doors Open Festival every summer.
Other important partners are our funders, donors, and sponsors: municipalities, granting organisations, and the generous individuals who make a lot of our work possible.
We maintain relationships with service providers such as our festival coordinator, our graphic designer, printing companies, and our website team. There are also the people who run our programs (Jim Higgs with History in the Classroom, and Shirley Lowe with History in the Community), and of course those who attend our events – members and non-members alike.
It is undeniable that the Edmonton and District Historical Society has a huge impact on the community. But we’re not doing it alone. The benefits EDHS provides are made possible by dozens of organisations and hundreds of people all working together with similar goals. We don’t work in isolation and we don’t work in a vacuum. We’re stronger together and it shows.