Stories of Involvement – Mark Gallop - McCord Museum

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Scrapbook, The Westmount Thespians (detail), 1922-1934. Gift of Mr. Mark W. Gallop, M2012.79.1.7 © McCord Museum

Stories of Involvement – Mark Gallop

Donor and volunteer Mark Gallop talks about his passion for history and personal connection with the McCord Museum.

June 2, 2020

Involved with the McCord Museum for over 30 years, Mr. Mark Gallop plays a key role in advancing the Museum’s archival dissemination projects.

We are grateful for his generous support and infectious enthusiasm for our Archives collection. It is always a pleasure to welcome him to the Museum or see him wandering through the galleries, especially since he does not live in Montreal anymore and must make the trip from New Brunswick.

We asked Mr. Gallop about his connection with the McCord Museum:

“My education and career were in finance, but my passion has always been history. As a McGill undergrad in the early 1980s, I channelled this enthusiasm into weekly sessions volunteering in the McCord Archives. And as I established my career, I became a regular visitor, member, and donor.

However, my relationship with the museum deepened a decade ago, thanks to a special artefact: a scrapbook chronicling the Westmount Thespians, an amateur theatrical group started in 1922. My grandfather and great-uncle were founding members, and I was enthralled in my childhood by the scrapbook’s evocative pages when it was brought out at annual picnic reunions for the ‘Thespians’ and their families.

I retrieved the scrapbook and related material after the death of the group’s last president from his widow with a promise to find a suitable home, with the McCord in mind. Happily, the fonds was evaluated and accepted by the Acquisitions Committee. Because I knew from my volunteering experience that there would be associated accessioning and preservation costs, I made a monetary donation to help defray these costs. The archivist responded with thanks and an intriguing idea: the scrapbook was an excellent candidate for digitization.

As an amateur historian with a day-job limiting my access to archives, I thought digitization made so much sense! From the museum’s perspective, the fonds gets preserved and protected, not only from catastrophic events but also from the risks of regular handling. As for researchers, they can consult the images via the museum website at any time, from anywhere in the world, without appointment or staff supervision, even during pandemic shut-downs!

I returned to the McCord the following year with an offer to fund the digitization of other fonds. Although my initial three-year commitment has long passed, it gives me great pleasure to extend the project each year to see the online resources in the McCord Archives and Documentation Centre proliferate.”

To learn how you can support the McCord Museum’s Archives collection, please contact: Catherine Julien, Officer, Planned Giving and Major Gifts.