Sherri Robinson has been the one constant at the Esquimalt Municipal Archives for almost 40 years. (Kristyn Anthony/News staff)

Sherri Robinson has been the one constant at the Esquimalt Municipal Archives for almost 40 years. (Kristyn Anthony/News staff)

Esquimalt archivist honoured by BC Museum Association

Volunteer helped co-found municipal archives in 1981, still at the helm today

In the Township of Esquimalt, the name Sherri Robinson is well known.

For more than 40 years, Robinson has volunteered countless hours working in the Esquimalt Municipal Archives meticulously cataloguing everything from property records to genealogy to thousands of original photos.

“I just love history,” Robinson says. “I love Esquimalt. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I really enjoy letting people know about our history.”

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As it turns out, Robinson’s dedication to the archives – which she helped create as part of a committee assembled in 1981 – isn’t just a hometown secret.

The BC Museums Association recently honoured Robinson with the Museum Service and Stewardship Award for her “extensive knowledge of the community of Esquimalt” and for her “dedication to the documentation and preservation of the municipality’s history.”

“I’m very grateful and honoured and humbled,” says the longtime Esquimalt resident. “It’s always nice to be recognized for doing what you love to do.

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In 2016, Esquimalt recognized Robinson with a Spirit Award for “being a tireless steward and advocate for the Township’s history.”

The mother and grandmother has deep ties to the community – her great-great-grandparents established the first halfway house, known since 1860 as the Esquimalt Inn. They were also one of the first establishments to be granted a brewing licence in B.C.

“We’re very unique,” Robinson says of the municipality. “There’s only one of us in the world.”

From January until August of this year, Robinson was at the helm of the collection, in a small office below the McDonald’s on Esquimalt Road. Now her focus is working to get Jessica Nichol, a new master archivist from Winnipeg, acquainted with the four decades of work she’s poured into the archives.

“We’ve always been well supported by the municipality,” says Robinson, who authored Esquimalt Centennial, 1912-2012. “We’re community driven. We’ve been highly successful and we work hard at it.”

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Mayor Barb Desjardins said Robinson’s awarded was well-deserved, congratulating her on behalf of the Township. “She has always been our ‘go-to’ person for everything Esquimalt and is a tireless champion of the community.”

BCMA recognizes institutions and individuals who “exemplify excellence” in museums, galleries and historical communities across the province at an annual ceremony, held this year in Kelowna.

“This year’s recipients really showcase the breadth of amazing things happening in B.C.’s museum sector,” says BCMA executive director Erica Mattson. “From community involvement to digital programming to volunteer engagement, B.C. continues to be at the forefront of museums in Canada.”

The Esquimalt Archives are open Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.


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