This summer, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for the Bytown Museum in their collections department. There, I was tasked with numbering and transcribing a collection of 600 post cards which were sent as correspondence between the Lockmasters of the Rideau Canal locks, and the Superintending Engineer of the Rideau Canal Office in Ottawa. These post cards, which were dated from 1879 to 1963, provided valuable insight into the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Rideau Canal locks. As the city of Ottawa relied on these locks for settlement and economic development during this time, the Lockmasters focused their correspondence on highlighting their lock station’s suitability for navigation.
Volunteering in the collections department was a valuable learning experience. It allowed me to experience first hand the challenges that come with transcribing documents with various handwritings, short-hands, and terminologies. Below you will find one document from the collection followed by my transcription. All of my transcriptions were entered into Microsoft Word for review and later use in the department.
Accession No 2013.002.01.007 Date 1882.04.10 Lock Station Brewer's Upper Mills Front "To: Fred. A. Wise Esquire// Supt [Superintending] Engineer Rideau Canal &// Ottawa" Back "Brewers Upper Mills April 10th 1882// Sir// The height of the water on the upper// sill of the locks is nine feet one inch// the height on the sill of the Bywash is// five feet one inch// yours// P Deane LM [Lock Master]"