By Erik Moore
At the turn of the 20th century, the University of Minnesota’s Department of Botany helped to set up a biological marine laboratory on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island near the outpost of Port Renfrew. Established through the efforts of Josephine Tilden, the Minnesota Seaside Station served as a teaching and collecting laboratory from 1901-1907.
Recently, the University of Minnesota Archives completed a year-long project to digitize the records of the Minnesota Geological and Natural History Survey as well as related materials from the departments of botany, zoology, geology, and the natural history museum (today’s Bell Museum). Included in these materials are all of the departmental records and photographs of the Seaside Station.
Now with the archival materials available online, others are able to connect their own histories and experiences with the University of Minnesota. In 2014, representatives of Pacheedaht Heritage Project, an organization helping to document the history of the Pacheedaht First Nation, contacted the University Archives observing that many of the photographs in our collection included images of the Pacheedaht and their village. These images had never before been seen by the First Nation.
We were able to digitally share all of the materials we had within the collection. To learn more about this connection, see a photo essay about the Minnesota Seaside Station in the latest issue of BC Studies: The British Colombian Quarterly.
There are also many uses of the material that are happening to help others understand the historical context of the area, now known as Botanical Beach. In January of this year, the online magazine, Hakai Magazine, produced a video about the current educational uses of the beach for students from the University of Washington.Out of this World: the Minnesota Seaside Station, Hakai Magazine
Discover your own connections and explore the Minnesota Seaside Station…
—Erik Moore is the University Archivist and Co-Director of the University Digital Conservancy. To learn more about the University of Minnesota Archives, please visit www.lib.umn.edu/uarchives.