Behind the Scenes | The Lacombe Globe Collection

The Lacombe Globe was originally founded as the Western Globe by J.D. Skinner in 1900 and printed its final issue in January of 2020 after 119 years of reporting local Lacombe news and events. Over the past 50 years, we have made an effort to collect all of the newspapers of Lacombe on a weekly basis – having original copies of the Lacombe Globe back to 1907.

Original Lacombe Globe offices on 50th Street

In early 2019, when the office was relocated from its downtown location, the Lacombe & District Historical Society was able to accept a large donation of items otherwise meant for the recycling depot – take a look below through the journey that relocating this large donation into our stewardship truly meant.

the print room

A Look into the Lacombe Globe Collection

The logistics behind this large accession took months to arrange, given our small space and being at capacity already. With help from the City of Lacombe and the Lacombe Globe staff, the Lacombe & District Historical Society team were able to carefully relocate the entirety of the collection to temporary storage for 6-months at a City of Lacombe facility.

storage inside the Lacombe Globe office basement, 2019

Some of the records were incredibly fragile, deteriorating from years of being mishandled and stored in an unideal location. Over the course of 2019 summer students and volunteers were able to inventory and sort through the donation which totalled:

  • 20,000 (+/-) photographic negatives Lacombe Globe Reporters had taken throughout the years in Lacombe and surrounding communities;
  • 73 years of large bound-copies of the newspaper;
  • photography equipment and boxes of DVDs and CDs of digital data on them.

By end of August 2019, the Lacombe Globe donation had formally been accepted into the Lacombe & District Historical Society Collection, and moved from temporary storage to our Permanent Collection Space. Combined with our original editions of the Lacombe Globe (Lacombe Westerner at the time) records, which span back to 1907, this means we have over 6000 original Lacombe Globe newspapers in our Archives, plus the Reference Collection, Photographs and Negatives! (with the 4 other local newspapers we have collected, we have over 8000 issues in our Newspaper Collection!)

packaged and waiting for transport

Public Accessibility to the Lacombe Globe Collection

The newly accessioned bound-issues of the Lacombe Globe will be made available to the public for in-person research once the COVID-19 Pandemic has ended and museums and galleries are able to open. Our pristine condition issues will remain in the archival storage, however we are actively digitizing them!

Skinner and his original printing press

We have worked for over a decade to bring all of our collections to the publics hands as easily as possible. This work included loaning the original newspapers from 1907-1939 to the University of Alberta for the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Newspaper Project, where they were digitized and then resent back to us for safe keeping. A wonderful online research resource, Peel’s Prairie Provinces hosts 1197 issues of our Lacombe Globe records; 168 issues of our Lacombe Guardian records; & 155 issues of our Advertiser and Central Alberta News records.

The End Goal?

With an overhead scanner being loaned to the Lacombe & District Historical Society, staff and volunteers have made progress over 2020 and 2021 in scanning the next 8 years of Lacombe Globe Newspaper Issues – a project that has taken over 350 hours to date – watch this BTS video of the digitization process.

The Lacombe Globe Negatives we accessioned at the same time are also going through a similar process of digitizing, after being cleaned, rehoused, labelled and described by our team members. Watch this BTS video of the digitization process.

Lacombe & District Historical Society Staff clean and describe thousands of Lacombe Globe Negatives strip by strip

While this is all very time consuming and is repetitive work, it is so important to our collections in the future, for two key purposes:

  1. heritage belongs to all of us, and it is our duty as heritage professionals to safeguard and share our collective heritage on behalf of the public trust. Heritage information should be widely available, accessible, and useable. Everything we do in the heritage realm is values-based, which helps us develop and maintain best practices with regards to heritage management. If we fail to make heritage accessible to all, then who are we preserving heritage for?;
  2. While there are various ways that heritage records can be kept and identified, they must be standardized, be kept somewhere safe and accessible, be backed up, and be migrated and/or updated often. This principle contributes to better overall heritage management because without heritage records, how can we safely and efficiently preserve our heritage? In other words, information is only as good as its maintenance and usability. If all our heritage was stored on 8tracks or floppy disks, arguably obsolete forms of digital storage, how useful would it be in 2021? Conversely, if we allow our heritage to remain only in its original format (e.g., newspapers, acetate photos, cassettes, etc.) without any form of up-to-date digital backup, any one of the ten agents of deterioration would severely impact the longevity of that heritage.


We look forward to completing this work over the coming years, and making available the collections online, decade by decade, for the public to have access!

Written by Melissa Blunden,
Executive Director and Curator, Lacombe & District Historical Society.

Visit the Globe Online at Peel’s Prairie