Athabasca Archives

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Athabasca Archives

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • Alice B. Donahue Library and Archives
  • Town of Athabasca Archives


  • Community

Contact area


Margaret Anderson, Archivist



Street address

4716 - 48 Street





Country name


Postal code

T9S 1R2


780 675 2811




Description area


In 1946, Eric Hodgson, Superintendent of Schools, held a meeting of representatives of different community organizations to discuss establishing a public library in Athabasca. A committee was struck and met in June 1946 to nominate a library board. The library is an entity of the Town of Athabasca and was known as the Athabasca and District Public Library from 1946 to 1966, the Athabasca Municipal Library from 1966 to 1980, and the Athabasca Municipal Library and Archives from 1980 to 1988 when it adopted its current name, Alice B Donahue Library and Archives. Athabasca Archives had its origin in 1957 when the Athabasca Historical Society asked the Library to house its collection of historical material. The library was located in the Town Hall, the Community Centre, and the former Provincial Building until it was moved to the Stucco School section of the Brick School Complex in 1979. In 1980, Athabasca Archives was assigned its own room and volunteers organized and solicited material for a Town of Athabasca 75th Anniversary history book project, "Athabasca Landing: An Illustrated History," which was published in 1986. The first part-time archivist was hired in 1988.

Geographical and cultural context

Athabasca Archives includes family histories and records of Métis and European immigrants, photographs, artifacts, audio/video recordings and some of the records of the Town of Athabasca and Athabasca County. Local and area community groups and volunteer organizations have also donated their records. The Town of Athabasca (formerly Athabasca Landing) is located on the elbow of the Athabasca River, the southernmost point on the river before it begins its journey to Ft McMurray and Lake Athabasca. The river was an important transportation corridor during the fur trade at the end of the 19th century into the early 20th century. The Hudson's Bay Company made a track from Fort Edmonton which terminated at their warehouse in Athabasca Landing. HBC and Northern Transportation Company steamboats traveled the river between Lesser Slave Lake. The Canadian Northern Railway arrived in 1912.

Mandates/Sources of authority

Town of Athabasca Archives Policy
40a) The Town of Athabasca Archives has been established for the purpose of preserving, acquiring and making available for research materials containing historical information about the Town of Athabasca, the Athabasca County, and other related regions, and to collect and preserve the history of the Town of Athabasca and surrounding area. This material may consist of official records, unofficial records, documents, microfilm, sound and moving images, audio/video tapes, machine readable records, photographs, drawings, plans, maps, artefacts, reference books and so on.

Administrative structure

The Archivist is paid for 50 hours/month by the Town of Athabasca and supervises archives volunteers. Alice B. Donahue Library and Archives is administered by a volunteer board consisting of a Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary and Treasurer as well as representatives from the Town and County. The Archivist is supervised by the Board Chair and is responsible for the administration and maintenance of all archives material of behalf of the Board. Athabasca Archives' holdings are the property of the Town of Athabasca.

Records management and collecting policies

46.Town of Athabasca Archives Access and Acquisition
a) The Archivist will appraise, acquire, preserve, and make available for use archival records, ensuring their intellectual integrity and promoting responsible physical custodianship of these records, for the benefit of present users and future generations, in accordance with the mandate and resources of the Alice B. Donahue Library and Archives and following the Canadian Council of Archives’ Guidelines for Developing an Acquisition Policy.
b) The Archivist will confirm the transfer of records in accordance with the Canadian Copyright Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-42) and respect copyright as related to copying records and copyright restrictions that may exist for its holdings.
c) The Archivist will perform these activities without discrimination.
d) The Archivist will encourage and promote the greatest possible use of the Archives’ records, giving due attention to personal privacy and confidentiality, and the preservation of the records.
e) The Archivist will carry out his or her duties according to accepted archival principles and practices.
f) The Archivist will contribute to the advancement of archival studies by developing personal knowledge and skills, and by sharing this information and experience with members of archival and related professions.
—Based on the Association of Canadian Archivists Archivist’s Code of Ethics, 2017.


Athabasca Archives is housed in two rooms of the former Stucco School which attached to the historic Athabasca Public School (the Brick School) built in 1913. Archival space includes a foyer that displays artifacts and a large storage closet. The Town of Athabasca Public Library is also housed in the Stucco School complex.


Total Volume: 70 metres. Inclusive Dates: 1886 - current. Predominant Dates: 1900s - Present. Holdings consist of materials containing historical evidence about the Town of Athabasca, Athabasca County, Athabasca School Division and related regions. These include a complete set of newspapers published in Athabasca from 1908 to the present, textual records, photographs, maps, blueprints, audio/video recordings, reference library, periodical collection, and artifacts.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Finding aids are available on request.

Access area

Opening times

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Access conditions and requirements


Wheelchair access to the Archives can be found through the main door of the Library, through the building to the Archives. There is limited mobility access through the main door of the Archives. There is no designated handicap parking but there is ample space in from of the Archives entrance.

Services area

Research services

Research services are available on request
780 675 2811

Reproduction services

Reproduction services are available on request and they include image scans, and duplication of cassette and VHS tapes.
780 675 2811

Public areas

Athabasca Archives' work room includes a large boardroom table for researchers' use. There are no computers dedicated to the public's use in the Archives.

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

1908 – Present




Maintenance notes

Margaret Anderson

Access points

Access Points

  • Clipboard

Primary contact

4716 - 48 Street
Athabasca, Alberta
CA T9S 1R2