Image Bank

The Columbia basin Image Bank is intended as a research tool. To that end we have included images which would not be seen in a traditional image sales collection.

Some of the images included here are water-damaged or faded. We have chosen to include them for research purposes, knowing they are not of reproduction quality. If any user sees that they have a better quality print of the same image we would be delighted to enter it and take down the damaged photograph.

We have not altered any image content. The Institute’s archives consist of images that are scanned and saved as raw and unedited files. The images you see on the website are run through an automatic image correcting process for colour, contrast and brightness. As will be found elsewhere on this site, the user is reminded that the copyright for these images rests with the partner institution or individual, and the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History assumes no responsibility for providing copyright clearance for the images on this site.

Click here to search the Image Bank!

Partnerships are a large part of the way we do business at the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History. There are many institutions and individuals that have been collecting historical resources for many, many years. One aspect of those resources is the photograph.

There are tens of thousands of photographic resources associated with the Columbia Basin. Ranging from Valemount west to Revelstoke and east to old Michel-Natal, south from Creston to Castlegar and including Grand Forks and Greenwood in the historic transportation and resource extraction net, the photographic resource is awesome. Unfortunately there was no way of bringing the resource together so that general interest viewers and researchers of all levels could view it – until the Internet and the Columbia Basin Image Bank.

We do not live in an exclusive vacuum. Historically, presently, and in the future we are linked community to community and resource to resource. So, at the Institute, we believe that in order to see the forces that link us together, in order to view the natural structures and objects that help us to treasure this region, we must present an inclusive view of the Columbia Basin and that emerging identity we call Basin culture. Two years of thought and database development resulted in our answer – the Columbia Basin Image Bank.


The Columbia Basin Image Bank is an undertaking between three groups of partners, brought together by the Columbia Basin Institute of Regional History:

  • institutions within the Columbia Basin holding collections and wanting to enhance public access to the digital version of these articles
  • individual collectors who have agreed to share the digital version of real documents, photographs and postcards
  • public and private sponsors who have agreed to assist in funding the work of making the resources accessible on the web

At the Columbia Basin Institute we provide the catalyst for these partnerships. We also provide the database, workers and equipment that combines to make the scanned images accessible to both the general public and the more engaged researcher.

The Columbia Basin Image Bank will build out, in its First Phase, to approximately 20,000 images of the Columbia Basin. There are four institutional and three private partners. The private partners choose to remain anonymous while the institutional partners are:

Major contributors of resources that have worked with the Columbia Basin Institute to bring the Columbia Basin Image Bank on-line include:

All of these components have been combined to undertake the first phase of the Image Bank.

As we finish scanning and indexing the 20,000 images of Phase One we are already beginning to assemble the partnerships for Phase Two. We are looking for partners that define the edges of the Columbia Basin as well as those that fill in the vast middle. The Image Bank provides universal access to the digital image for anyone who has the use of a computer (or anyone who has a friend who has access to a computer). It also allows individuals to share precious images with the larger world, without giving up the original. Institutions that are stretched in their manpower and resources can become a partner and allow the Columbia Basin Institute to provide access and the cross-referencing needed to yield the best search results without committing staff time and resources. As well, our partners receive half of the funds generated by image purchases.

The Columbia Basin Image Bank will become a powerful tool in understanding how we live together, how fundamental resource extraction is to our economic survival and how precious and fragile our natural and human heritage is in the Columbia Basin. Future partners, whether institutional or individual, corporate or public, are encouraged to contact us.

The Government of Canada has contributed funding to this initiative.

Major contributor: Columbia Basin Trust

Major contributor: BC Hydro