TBM cultural mapping project will go live in July

The Town of The Blue Mountains’ new Cultural Map will go live online in July.

Alessia Farris, Curator of the Craigleith Heritage Depot and Jennifer Murley, The Blue Mountains Public Library CEO, attended council’s committee of the whole meeting on June 11 to provide an update about the town’s ongoing project to map the cultural, natural and intangible features that define The Blue Mountains and its history.

Museum staff and the town’s GIS staff have teamed up over a number of months to create the online cultural map and to enter the community’s historical and heritage landmarks into the system.

“Cultural maps act like a window into the soul of a place,” Farris told council. “We want to include everything that has shaped the character of the Town of The Blue Mountains.”

When the project goes live, visitors to the online cultural map will see pins that denote historic or heritage landmarks. They will be able to click on each pin and view the history of the landmark through written text and photos that have been uploaded into the map.

Farris told council the project will go live to the community in July and will feature up to 75 historical sites initially, and staff will continue adding three to five sites per month as information continues to come in.

Museum staff continue to receive information about historical sites in the community. Local residents are encouraged to get involved and donate to the project in one of three ways. They can donate historic materials directly to the museum to become part of the museum’s collection. They are also able to donate their material just to the project. Donations will be added to the cultural map and then returned to their owners. Local residents can also donate scanned or digitized items to the project.

“We want residents to be active participants in this project,” said Farris. “Our ultimate goal is for the public to play a central role.”

Museum staff are holding sessions at the L.E. Shore Library for those interested in learning more about the project or making a donation. Staff will be present in the library on June 18 and 25 from 10 a.m. to noon. More sessions are planned in the future with dates to be announced.

In her presentation to council, Farris opened the cultural map website to demonstrate for council how it will function.

“Every pin tells a story,” said Farris.

Members of council were thrilled with the progress on the project.

“This is fantastic,” said Mayor Andrea Matrosovs, who said she has spent considerable time researching her community of Egypt and looks forward to being able to use the cultural map.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca