The Legacy Project is preserving the combined history of Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute and Queen Elizabeth Collegiate and Vocational Institute.
The main goal of the project is “to uncover and document the histories of the first two public high schools in Kingston through their document and artifact collections.”
As of the Limestone District School Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 12, the project had created a committee, hired two museum professionals (Emily Welch and Jessa Brown) by securing grants from the Young Canada Works Building Careers in Heritage, the KCVI Bicentennial Fund and the City of Kingston Heritage Fund, and almost completed a full inventory of school items.
Members of the Legacy Project committee are KC teacher librarian Joanne Whitfield, and retired teachers Kevin Reed, Tim Orpin and Chris VanLuven, with support from KC principal Talya McKenna and superintendent of education Krishna Burra.
“(We’ve discovered a) treasure trove of weird and wonderful,” Whitfield said.
Along with letters, photos and other documents, the archive will include tools, flags, trophies, scientific objects
As well, it will help set up specific exhibits within the new Kingston Secondary School, looking at things like the school’s athletics, arts, the journey from Kingston Collegiate and Queen Elizabeth Collegiate to becoming Kingston Secondary School and what happened at the schools during wartime.
The archive and memorabilia will be stored in both hard and digital formats at the new Kingston Secondary School.
“(The project aims) to create exhibit spaces in our new school and digitally that help our students and the public appreciate the histories of these two schools and their contributions to Kingston, Ontario and Canada,” Whitfield said.
Another goal of the project is “to ensure that whatever is kept will be stored or displayed in accordance with conservation best practices” as well as “disperse some of this collection in accordance with current museum and archive standards.”
“Strong opinions exist in the community about which items, if any, should transition to Kingston Secondary School,” Burra stated in a report to the board. “A fine balance exists between honouring the important history of both KCVI and QECVI, while also providing the opportunity for KSS to create its own history. In addition, storage space is very limited at KSS, which prevents the movement of all historical items to the new school. A historical document cabinet and four ‘legacy’ panels have been purchased to display the history of both predecessor buildings at KSS. In addition, some display cabinets and spaces will be made available to showcase a limited number of items.”
Examples of the digital inventory are The Milton Borenko Collection and school yearbooks available to see online at sites.google.com/limestone.on.ca/kcviandqecvilegacywebsite/home.
According to the presentation, the oldest item currently in the inventory is a letter, dated from 1851, from a student to his master, D.A. Givens, apologizing for his misbehaviour.
Kingston Secondary School is scheduled to open its doors to students this fall, for the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Anyone with an item of significance can contact the archivist at Kingston Collegiate via email firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss the item.
For more information, go online to sites.google.com/limestone.on.ca/kcviandqecvilegacywebsite/home.