Nov. 15, 2019

University of Calgary and Glenbow announce historic initiative

Glenbow Western Research Centre at the University of Calgary will increase access, teaching and research opportunities for students, academics and the public

Two of western Canada’s leading learning institutions are creating an innovative approach to community-based research: the Glenbow Western Research Centre at the University of Calgary. Over the next two years, Glenbow’s Library and Archives will be relocated to the University of Calgary to provide the widest possible access to this remarkable collection.

“This initiative will provide new opportunities for students, scholars and the public to access the historic Glenbow collections by housing them within our university’s archives,” said UCalgary President Elizabeth Cannon. “The Glenbow collections will elevate the University of Calgary’s Libraries and Cultural Resources, providing enhanced engagement with teaching, research and public interest in Western Canada.”

  • Taking part in the announcement at the University of Calgary are pictured above, from left: the Honourable Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism; Dr. Mary-Jo Romaniuk, vice-provost, libraries and cultural resources; donors Sharon and Bill Siebens; President Elizabeth Cannon; Glenbow Board Chair Irfhan Rawji; and student Sonia Jarmula.

This move to the university, for a 99-year period, closely aligns Glenbow’s collections with teaching and learning, and research interests at UCalgary. The relocation gives students easy access to another world-class collection and will benefit students in a wide range of disciplines including: local, regional and provincial history; social studies; cultural and social history; religious studies; geography; political science; military history and artifacts; and agriculture.

“We are excited about this collaboration and the prominence the university is placing on these important research materials,” says Glenbow Board Chair Irfhan Rawji. “The university will be able to ensure greater public and academic access than Glenbow is currently able to provide. By leveraging this new space at the university to feature part of Glenbow’s collection, we can focus on ensuring other impressive aspects of our collection – such as our vast array of contemporary and historical art – have more room to be displayed in our building for the public to enjoy.”

The collections include provincially owned archives currently held by Glenbow and stewarded in accordance with existing standards that Glenbow is responsible for providing under the Glenbow-Alberta Institute Act and its service agreement with the Province. The Province of Alberta has approved the relocation agreement.

“We were inspired to make this significant gift as we believe it is critical to preserve the valuable records and artifacts that illustrate who we are as Albertans; who we are as Western Canadians," says donor Bill Siebens.

"It is critical to preserve the valuable records and artifacts that illustrate who we are."

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary; quote from donor Bill Siebens

“The Glenbow Western Research Centre will ensure the long-term conservation of – and expanded public access to – these valuable records that help tell our shared stories and history,” said Ricardo Miranda, minister of culture and tourism for the Government of Alberta. “I support this initiative because it supports our government’s efforts to further enhance Alberta’s archives.”

The addition of the Glenbow collections to the University of Calgary is made possible through the generous support of the Calgary community. Bill Siebens and family are providing support integral to the relocation. Other donors, passionate about preserving Western Canadian history and culture, may contribute to support the relocation of the collections to the university and their ongoing stewardship.

“We were inspired to make this significant gift as we believe it is critical to preserve the valuable records and artifacts that illustrate who we are as Albertans; who we are as Western Canadians. With society moving at such an incredible pace, and with technology changing before our eyes, we felt a responsibility to preserve that which came before us so that future generations can explore, and learn from, the rich lessons of the past,” said Bill Siebens. “The cultural resources contained in the library and archives are treasured stories of families, of commerce, of struggle – all woven in with the innovation and progress that brought us to where we are today. We are proud that the centre will serve as an invaluable resource for students, faculty, researchers and the general public. We know that its vast archival holdings will help inform future decision-making related to all facets of community life.”

The Glenbow Western Research Centre will be located in the Taylor Family Digital Library and the collections will be stewarded by experts in UCalgary’s Libraries and Cultural Resources. The transition will take place over the next two years, beginning in January 2019, with the new location expected to open in the fall of 2019. Details on the relocation will be available at ucalgary.ca/glenbow to ensure smooth transition and clear access to materials.

The Siebens family contribution is part of the university’s ongoing fundraising campaign, Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High. The campaign is currently at $1.126 billion towards its overall goal of $1.3 billion.

About Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High

Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High is the University of Calgary’s most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history. Funds raised through the campaign will support student experiences, research outcomes and community connections. Together we are fueling transformational change for the University of Calgary, our city, and beyond — inspiring discovery, creativity and innovation for generations to come. Formally launched in April 2016, the campaign is more than two thirds to its overall goal of $1.3 billion.

University of Calgary and Glenbow announce historic initiative