Tom Mitchell

Courtesy Street Media

Courtesy Street Media

      B.A. (Brandon) M.A. (Manitoba) Ed. Cert. (Brandon)

Since 2012, I have been  University Archivist (Emeritus) at Brandon University. In practical terms, I am now an independent researcher, writer, documentary producer with many interests – traditional historical and archival practice included – that tend to converge on public history. The digital revolution has furnished a new terrain for public history and given a new urgency to the need to come to terms with its epistemological nature and practice. I spend lots of time thinking about that. I developed a course on public history for the B.U. History Department. I teach it every few years.

Courtesy Street Media

I am currently working on three public history projects.

The first is a paper titled  Meeting Place and Crossroad: The Grand Rapids of the Assiniboine. The paper examines a locale centered on the Grand Rapids of the Assiniboine as a case study of how and why places emerge and decline (some disappear entirely) over time.  Meeting Place and Crossroad: The Grand Rapids of the Assiniboine will be published in Manitoba History in 2018.

Untitled Image, Edward Walker, Edward Walker fonds, S.J. McKee Archives, 26-2004

The second, for BELL-MTS Stories From Home,  is a series of five short documentaries titled In the Archives. (See the last page on this site for a summary of the series.) Each segment considers the power of archival materials – photographs and text – to evoke particular places and eras, and to make the past present. The S.J. McKee Archives and Daly House Museum hold the materials upon which the series is based.

“A Map of Hudson’s Bay and Interior Westerly particularly above Albany 1791…” by Edward Jarvis and Donald Mackay, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, G.1/13.

The third, that has yet to take any particular form, e.g. documentary script, dramatization, has two foci: the first – tentatively titled Before Brandon – Donald Mackay and the Founding of Brandon House, 1793 – concerns Donald Mckay, a seminal, but deeply under appreciated figure in the history of Manitoba.

Mackay’s establishment of Hudson’s Bay Company post Brandon House on the Assiniboine River is integral to the history of the eastern prairies in the early nineteenth century and presents an opening to Manitoba’s modern historical narrative.

“A Map of Red River District 1819,” by Peter Fidler, Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, Archives of Manitoba, B.22/e/1.

The second – Before Brandon: 1819 Peter Fidler’s Manetoba – is based on Fidler’s 1819 report on the Red River District, a comprehensive account of the eastern prairies circa 1819, prepared at Brandon House for submission to the London Committee of the Hudson’s Bay Company.