Archival research fosters love of N.L. history
A chance opportunity to work in the Archives and Special Collections unit in the Queen Elizabeth II Library strengthened Amanda Humber’s passion for this province’s history – so much so she’s now considering a career in archives.
Ms. Humber graduates May 31 with her bachelor of arts degree with a major in English and a minor in French. She says being able to complete research in her “most favourite place at Memorial,” was an eye-opening experience.
“I learned so many things through this position,” she said in an interview with the Gazette. “I even took a history course and read a few books to try to expand my knowledge on what I was holding in my hands and seeing at work. I have learned more about Newfoundland history than I have ever known working at the archives this past year.”
Originally from Norris Point, N.L., a scenic picturesque community on the province’s west coast, Ms. Humber completed her first two years of studies at Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook before moving to St. John’s. During her time at Memorial, she has enjoyed studying classic authors and works of literature while taking part in immersion programs in Quebec, enhancing her comprehension and knowledge of French. She's even learned to play the violin.
But, she noted, her time in the archives reinforced her love of Newfoundland and Labrador’s heritage. She was lucky to land three separate Memorial Undergraduate Career Experience Program (MUCEP) placements working in the facility, spanning from January 2015 to April 2016. She credits Archivist Linda White with being a tremendous mentor, helping guide her through various research assignments.
“The projects I encountered were very challenging but most rewarding since a student like me could hold and view the documents and artifacts passed through the hands of such individuals as the soldiers of World War One,” noted Ms. Humber.
“There are no words to describe how I felt when working on the World War One project. Focusing on each metal, death penny, portrait and letter and then searching The Rooms online database for these individual's attestation papers, trying to match each face to their story, was an incredible experience.”
Ms. Humber crossed Convocation stage on May 31.