The past, after all, informs the present and helps chart the future.

Mike Dove

As the Director of Western’s undergraduate and graduate programs in Public History, Internship Coordinator of the MA Program in Public History, course professor in the Department of History, and Western alumnus, I have over twenty years of experience working with our university’s top-notch Archivists in various capacities. They as a group are among the most essential resources at Western, for their invaluable support to students, faculty, staff and programs, as well as for their delivering critical institutional services and for strengthening the university’s relations with outside communities. 

Western’s Archivists have had an enormous impact on teaching, learning, scholarship, community engagement, and career development at our university. This is seen first-hand in their impact on Western’s minor and MA public history programs, the latter being the longest-running program of its kind in Canada. Public history requires collaboration between multiple parties as original research and theoretical concepts are translated into practice to raise awareness and develop the public’s historical consciousness. Experiential, community-based and service learning, all key concepts in Western’s strategic plan, are essential to preparing our students for careers in the field. Over the past ten years, our students have worked with fifteen different local, provincial and national community partners including museums, archives, art galleries, and the London Advisory Committee on Heritage to produce outcomes such as museum and virtual exhibits, websites, smartphone apps, oral histories and popular publications. Quite simply, this would not have been possible without the careful instruction and guidance delivered by Western’s Archivists, and the university’s previous commitments to ensuring excellence through significant investments in archives. The past, after all, informs the present and helps chart the future. Our Archivists here at Western are integral to this process. 

Western’s Archivists continue to provide exceptional service to the university and the wider community. Their work directly impacts the quality of life for our students, faculty, and staff, and is, therefore, integral to their success. Their ongoing commitment to enriching the experiences of our students prepare them for success beyond graduation, and thereby contribute to the value and vibrancy of both our undergraduate and graduate programs. They make Western a better place to learn, live and work. 

Mike Dove is a professor in the Department of History