Archives FAQ

We get lots of questions about the Ottawa Jewish Archives, what we do and the donation process. Here is a collection of  some of the frequently asked questions and answers.


If you don't see the answers you are looking for here, please contact us at or call 613-798-4696 ext. 260.


What is an "Archives”?

Archives are a place where historical records are available for public research. The Ottawa Jewish Archives is a repository for original documents, records, photographs and ephemera relevant to the Jewish Community of Ottawa.

How do Archives differ from a museum?

While a museum deals mainly in three dimensional items or artifacts, Archives preserve two dimensional documents, like papers, photographs and rare ephemera. Sometimes Archives will collect three dimensional items like artifacts or paintings, as well as other items like recordings on cassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs, especially when they augment, compliment, or provide additional context to a collection within the Archives holdings.

How do Archives differ from a library?

Library collections consist of published material, while the collections of Archives consist largely of unpublished material. Although, Archives collections often do contain newspapers, magazines and other published material like books and periodicals — for many of the same reasons Archives sometimes preserve three dimensional objects.

What is archival material?

Archival material consists of original records, documents, and photographs or material that is rare and unique. For example: a family photograph album is an archival document, while a mass published book like The Da Vinci Code is not.

What is non-archival material?

The Archives maintains non-archival reference material, such as photocopied documents, copied photographs, and news articles. Non-archival documents are not subject to the standards necessary for preservation of archival material.

How is archival material stored and cared for?

Material acquired and appraised as having archival value is arranged, described and documented in an accession record or collection database. It is preserved and stored in acid free folders and boxes in a climate controlled secure area like a vault.

Who may use the Archives?

Anyone with a question they are seeking to answer! Students, researchers, and the general public have access to the Archives. Archives users will be provided with requested material for consultation on site, but may not borrow material or physically remove material from the Archives premises.

Can researchers make copies of archival documents and photographs?

Researchers are encouraged to bring a digital camera if they wish to take pictures of photographs and documents for research or reference use (restrictions may apply). The Archives offers professional reproductions services at a fee. If you would like to use material from the Archives in a publication or in a commercial project, you must submit a Purchase Order and Permissions Form to obtain the right to reproduce the material.

When can I visit the Archives?

Visitors and researchers are welcome during open hours, Mondays through Thursdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, however, please first make an appointment by phone or email so the archivist can prepare material in advance of your arrival: 613-798-4696 ext. 260 or

Can family or business records be donated to the archives?

Yes, the Ottawa Jewish Archives gratefully accepts donations. Archives are the best place for donors to preserve their precious original records and documents. Your collection will be preserved and stored in secure premises and will be available for present and future generations. Family members or business associates wishing to view the collection have access in perpetuity. The Archives also offers advice and assistance on the topics of documenting, preserving, and storing important records. Please contact the Archives for more information about the donation process.

To place an order, or learn more about our services, please contact or call 613-798-4696 ext. 260.