Donate to Yukon Archives

When you donate to Yukon Archives, your story becomes part of the Yukon’s collective memory. 

How to donate records

Types of donations

We accept a wide variety of records from individuals, families, organizations and businesses. This makes it difficult to generalize about the kinds of records we take. We find that donors are sometimes surprised to learn what we consider historically valuable. See About the Collections for examples of the records held here.

Making an appointment

Please contact us to arrange a time to discuss your donation. A planned appointment ensures that a member of staff is available to collect background information from you about the records.

Preparing background information

You can help us by preparing background information about your proposed donation before your appointment. This helps us to decide whether your records are a good fit for our holdings.

Please include:

  • a description of the approximate size or extent of the donation,
  • the date range,
  • a description of the material, for example, reports, diaries, photographs, etc.,
  • the name/s of the people who created the material.

The donation process

Once we receive your donation, an archivist will make a more detailed assessment of the materials. This can take a few days or several months, depending on the nature and complexity of the donation. If we accept your donation, we will ask you to sign a donation agreement. After this, the archives will have legal ownership of your donated material.

How to donate to the archives library

Small donations

If you are donating a small number of publications to the library, you can drop them off during open hours. No appointment is necessary.

Large donations

If you are donating a larger number of publications to the library, please contact us to let us know. You can send a list of titles or arrange a meeting to show us the publications. 

In most cases, a written agreement is not required for library donations.

What happens to my donation after I sign the donation agreement?

First, the records you donate will be accessioned. This is where we give your record a unique number and document the transfer of the records into the archives.

Next, we process the records so that researchers can use them. Processing can involve:

  • arranging the records, although the goal is to maintain the order established by the person who created them,
  • re-housing them into appropriate folders and boxes,
  • attending to any preservation requirements, and
  • describing them so that researchers can read and search this description to find the information they need.

Description can vary from a general or overall explanation of the material, down to a description of individual items, such as the content and format of photographs. We enter these descriptions into a database and make them available for patrons to search online and in our reading room.

If you donate a publication to the library, we will catalogue it and make it available through the Public Access Catalogue. To enhance access, we include local subject headings by adding either a table-of-content note or a short summary-content note. As well, we identify special features such as handwritten annotations and limited edition runs to the catalogue record. You can search the public-access catalogue by keyword, author, title and call number. Depending upon the age of the title, we may add an e-book link to the record if a digital copy is available on the Internet.

All material is stored in our secure vault.

Your questions

I scanned some family photographs and made a photocopy of some diaries. Would the Archives like to have these?

We welcome donations of original materials rather than copies.  Originals are the most authentic form of documents; copies involve some loss of fidelity. We would be very interested in learning more about the original photographs and written records created by your family as these could be a good fit for our holdings.

Do you take objects from the gold rush?

We are interested in gold rush-era diaries, letters, and photographs: records which document the history of Yukon. A museum is a better home for objects, or artifacts, and we recommend that you contact one of the many Yukon museums if you have objects you wish to donate.

I have copies of Yukon related records from another archives. Can I donate these copies?

We do not accept copies of records held by other archives, libraries or repositories. This policy allows us to devote our resources to the unique and original records at Yukon Archives rather than to those already cared for elsewhere.

Can I donate computer files, like jpegs, Word documents and emails?

Currently, we are planning a program to preserve and provide access to digital records. If you have computer files that you think might be of interest to the archives, please contact us to discuss what we may be able to accept now and in the future.

Why do I need to fill out paperwork for an archival records donation?

The paperwork helps us to learn:

  • what you are donating,
  • how it was created and looked after, maintained,
  • its significance,
  • your relationship to the material.

A donation agreement is required for even the smallest of donations. You may be happy for Yukon Archives decide how to preserve and provide access to them, but a legal agreement avoids confusion should we need to prove ownership. The donor and the Territorial Archivist sign the donation agreement. It transfers ownership and legal rights to Yukon Archives.

How does Yukon Archives decide whether to accept my donation of archival records?

In deciding whether to acquire a donation, we consider the following:

  • the mandate of Yukon Archives, and other institutions;
  • the donated records as a whole, not simply as individual items,
  • the resources that would be needed for us to make the records available in a reasonable period of time,
  • how the records might strengthen or weaken our existing holdings,
  • the availability of appropriate storage space for the records;
  • the extent and terms of restrictions a potential donor plans to place on the records;
  • the physical condition of the records and the effort, resources and ability we have to conserve them for a reasonable/indefinite period of time.

How does Yukon Archives decide whether to accept my donation to the archives library?

In deciding whether to acquire a library donation, we consider the following:

  1. Do the publications fit with the library’s focus for collecting? The focus includes:
    • non-fiction about Yukon or neighbouring jurisdictions as well as polar regions,
    • fiction and other works of the imagination with: 
      • Yukon settings and characters,
      • northern Canadian or Alaskan settings or
      • works with themes relevant to Yukon such as the North West Mounted Police, the fur trade, mining and prospecting, and First Nations.
  2. Are the publications already represented in the Archives?

Can I bequeath material to Yukon Archives?

Yes, you can leave records or publications to Yukon Archives in your will. However, you should contact archives before including this in your will to ensure that the material meets our acquisition policy.

How does the public gain access to my donation?

Researchers visiting Yukon Archives may view material in our research room. All requests for reproduction of material are subject to the Copyright Act and any institutional restrictions. In addition, policies govern any subsequent use of material by a patron. We make some material available through our websites. Usually, archival and library material is not available for loan or circulation. When you donate records to us, we will discuss access further with you.

Can I make a financial donation?

The Friends of Yukon Archives (FOYAS) accepts financial donations on behalf of Yukon Archives. You can discuss the kind of project you are interested in supporting with FOYAS. A financial contribution could range from supporting the acquisition of new material to the processing of material already owned by the archives, or targeting certain items in our holdings for preservation or access projects.

Contact information

Front Desk
Yukon Archives
Cultural Services
Office location: 
400 College Drive
Yukon Place (Beside Yukon College)
Whitehorse, YT
Tourism and Culture
800-661-0408 x5321
Mailing address: 
P.O. Box 2703 (L-6)
Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2C6