Collection PR2118 - Charles Camsell Hospital interview collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Charles Camsell Hospital interview collection

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the records.

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    Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

    Dates of creation area


    • 1991 (Creation)

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    5 audio reels. - 0.01 m of textual records

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    Archival description area

    Name of creator

    Biographical history

    The Provincial Museum of Alberta opened in 1967.

    Name of creator

    Administrative history

    The Oral History Project was part of the larger Camsell Project initiated by the staff of the Provincial Museum of Alberta. The Camsell Project was initiated by Dr. Patricia McCormack, Curator of Ethnology at the Musuem, as part of research on the donation of handicrafts and other items given to the Museum by the Charles Camsell Historical Society in 1991. Annalisa Staples and ethnology curatorial assistant Ruth McConnell developed the proposal to research the collection. The Friends of the Provincial Museum of Alberta approached the Edmonton Community Foundation for the funding, and in 1991, the Foundation approved the application for the “Camsell Project”.

    The Camsell Project involved seeking out former patients and staff members and collecting their oral histories of the Camsell experience. Interviews were conducted with former staff members, in particular the occupational therapists and staff craftworkers. Locating former patients was more difficult for the project team, as many were dispersed over an enormous area of western and northern Canada. In order to locate former patients from Inuit communities, the project researchers used ledgers with patient disc (identification) numbers, cross referencing them with the Inuit Art Section of Indian and Northern Affairs in Ottawa for further identification.

    To reach former patients, the team sent out a call for information to band offices, cultural/friendship centres, and Native housing offices in the south, and to hamlet offices, co-operatives, and cultural/friendship centres in the north. Approximately 125 notices were sent. Each information package included a list of the people who had produced artifacts in the collection, and asked if the individuals were known in the respective community.

    By the end of the project, thirteen artisans had been interviewed. Five of these artisans had died, and in lieu, their families were interviewed (four of these individuals were buried in the St Albert cemetery plot where a commemorative cairn now stands).

    The oral histories gathered, together with documentary materials and the artifacts of the Camsell Collections, provided the data that would go on to be published in Soapstone and Seed Beads: Arts and Crafts at the Charles Camsell Tuberculosis Sanatorium (1993).

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The collection consists of recorded and written interviews with former staff and patients of the Charles Camsell Hospital dating from 1991 conducted by Lisa Staples of the Provincial Museum of Alberta.

    Notes area

    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    In 1992, Lisa Staples donated the material to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.


    Material arranged according to original order.

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        Language and script note

        The material is in English.

        Location of originals

        Availability of other formats

        Restrictions on access

        Audiovisual records must be digitized prior to use.

        Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

        Finding aids

        File list is not available.

        Associated materials

        For material on the Charles Camsell Hospital, please see the Charles Camsell Hospital fonds at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.


        Further accruals are not expected.

        General note

        Information for the administrative history/biographical sketch sourced from the publication Soapstone and Seed Beads by Annalisa Staples and Ruth McConnel (1993).

        General note

        Includes accession PR1992.0129.

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