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The Whyte Museum supports researchers by providing access to the collections' descriptive catalogue databases. In addition, the Whyte Museum is committed to increasing online accessibility by the ongoing digitization of its holdings.
Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections hold over 800 archival fonds and collections that represents the culture and history of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The Archives also holds in trust, and provides access to the Luxton family fonds from the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation.
Archival holdings include approximately 350 metres of textual records, more than 700,000 photographs, and over 1500 sound recordings, motion pictures and videos. Dating from the mid-19th century to the 21st century, these records document not only the people who created them, but also the broader social, political, and economic history of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Special Collections include the Archives Library, Art Library and Alpine Club of Canada Library. The Archives Library includes over 8500 books, rare maps, periodicals, films, clipping files, and local newspapers which primarily focuses on the human and natural history of the Canadian Rockies. The Art Library includes over 1000 books, which complement the holdings of the Art Collection and provides a general overview of artists and art history. In addition to the Archives holding the Alpine Club of Canada fonds, the Whyte Museum is also the custodian of the Alpine Club of Canada Library, which contains over 4000 books and periodicals documenting the mountain cultures of the world from the mid-1600s to current.
For more information on researching Archives and Special Collections holdings see our Research Guide.
The Whyte Museum's art collection embodies the artistic spirit and vision of our founders Peter and Catharine. The collection includes over 10,000 items spanning the early 1800s to the present day. Featured are drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures by celebrated local, regional, national, and international artists who have been captivated by the local landscapes.
The childhood artistic attempts of Peter and Catharine, through their academic training at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, inform the work they created as adult practicing artists. The collection boasts over 2600 catalogued works by these two artists.
The collection also includes paintings by the Canadian Pacific Railway era artists, the Group of Seven, summer art instructors such as Walter Phillips, H. G. Glyde, Holly Middleton, and Takao Tanabe. American painters Carl Rungius, Belmore Browne, Frederick Bosley, and Aldro Hibbard are also represented. The work of local artists Charlie Beil, Jimmy Simpson, Dan Hudson, Michael Cameron, and Karen Maiolo hang harmoniously with numerous others artists from different parts of the globe.
The collection also features a sizeable portion of the acclaimed Japanese collection collected by Catharine's maternal grandfather Dr. Edward Sylvester Morse beginning in 1879. Exquisite North American Indigenous and Inuit basketry, carvings, prints, and paintings further complement the complexity of the collection.
The Heritage Collection
The collection includes artifacts that help to convey the stories of the numerous residents of and visitors to the town of Banff and area. Over time the region has become a destination for adventurers, artists, climbers, explorers, guides and outfitters, hikers, immigrants, Indigenous Peoples, and sport enthusiasts. Items from these individuals acquaint us with the past while simultaneously connecting us with the present.