Halifax Municipal Archives: A Local History Research Centre

Written by guest blogger, Susan McClure, Municipal Archivist

Are you looking for historical photos of your neighbourhood?  Want to know when your street was developed? Curious about an ancestor who served as a police officer? Halifax Municipal Archives, opens a new window can help with these questions and many, many more.

As the official repository for municipal government records, the Municipal Archives provides access to historical records from the former City of Halifax, Town/City of Dartmouth, Halifax County, and Town of Bedford, as well as to community records that have been donated by local families and organizations.

How to find what you need

What to expect when you visit 

The Municipal Archives has a wealth of material for genealogists, local historians, authors, students, academics, residents—essentially anyone needing to know about the history of our region.

Researchers are welcome during the Municipal Archives’ regular reference hours: Tuesdays 10:00 AM-1:00 PM; Wednesdays and Thursdays 1:00-4:00 PM. We have such limited hours because there are just 1.5 archivists who also acquire and prepare material for access. Additional research appointments can be requested. 

We are located at  81 Ilsley Ave. in the Burnside Industrial Park. There is plenty of free parking, a bike rack, and three bus-routes stop just beyond our door.

A phone-call or email ahead of your first visit is helpful to confirm that we have the material you need and so that staff can have it ready for you to view.

New researchers must register using photo ID. This is a security requirement to help safeguard our irreplaceable historical collection. A knowledgeable archivist will assist you to identify what records you need to look at and will bring material to you from our specialized archival storage. See more details about visiting the Archives.

Researchers can take photographs of material themselves and high-quality digital reproductions can be purchased for most materials. See more details on Copying Services and Fees.

We also provide training on using the Municipal Archives’ search tools, loans of material for exhibits, behind-the-scenes tours, school-visits and any other outreach ideas you want to suggest!

Do you have historical material to share?

Since government records only tell part of our history, it is important that community records are also preserved and made available to researchers.

The Municipal Archives cooperates with other local repositories in considering donations of documents, photographs, maps, books, and audio-visual recordings from individuals, families, businesses or community organizations active within the municipality. The Municipal Archives is especially interested in acquiring material from the region’s diverse marginalized communities who are not well-represented in government records.

Learn more about the donation process. Additions to our region’s documentary heritage are welcome!