Letters from the Trunk
The old trunk sits half-forgotten on the dusty floor of the attic. But for those curious enough to peer inside, they will find stories of adventure, adversity and accomplishment, told by the people who lived them.
Welcome to Letters from the Trunk, an exciting opportunity to learn about the men and women who settled in the Canadian West in the first half of the twentieth century.
As you enter the site, you will visit a virtual train station filled with photographs, newspapers, posters and recordings that provides evidence of the lives and experiences of Canadian immigrants. Inside the station, you will find trunks containing the experiences of three immigrants, complete with the photographs, letters, and recordings that tell their story. As you explore the site, you will have your own interactive student journal to collect photographs and documents that help to record your own experiences.
Reach out and open the trunk to begin your journey.
French Version of Letters in the Trunk
Letters in the Trunk is also available in French. Click on the French version link to directly explore the site in French or click here for the French introduction page.
For the Teachers:
Canadian history has been brought to life by integrating the use of technology, primary source materials, and educational materials to support inquiry-based learning. The project represents an innovative partnership between educators and archivists. The result has been a content-rich, multimedia online learning object that teaches critical thinking, analysis of source documents, research skills, principles of archival processes and opens the vaults to Canadian archives and museums as resource avenues for teachers and students.
While Letters from the Trunk has been developed for use by teachers and students from across Canada, the site’s Learning Resources section supports Alberta curricular connections. Historical documents, maps, student journal activities, assessment strategies, and additional resources provide a framework for secondary and primary students to take a cross curricular journey. The interactive journal allows students to respond in writing to teacher-developed questions based on sources in the trunks. Students can also collect archival images and documents in their journals to support their responses. The journal can be saved, giving students the option to re-enter this site and continue their work over time.
You will need the latest Macromedia Flash Plug-in to view this site. Click on the button below to download Flash Player 7 or higher.
Archives in the Classroom:
Letters from the Trunk is an initiative of the Archives Society of Alberta and the Alberta Online Consortium. An interactive online tour has also been developed to help students and teachers learn more about the work of archival institutions (as distinct from the work of libraries or museums) and how to search for and use materials from online archival databases.
The Archives Tutorial can be found at: Archives Tutorial
The Alberta Archives Society online databases can be found at:
This project was made possible through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, Library and Archives Canada, and the Canadian Council of Archives.
For more information contact:
Collene Armstrong - Content Development Director, Alberta Online Consortium
Michael Gourlie - Archives Advisor, Archives Society of Alberta