UBC welcomes extensive collection thanks to Columbia Basin Trust support

A large private film collection has been donated to the Univeristy of British Columbia Library.

Rachel Lucas

Columbia Basin Trust

One of the largest private film collections in Canada, which provides a fascinating document of rural B.C., will be housed and preserved by the Univeristy of British Columbia Library thanks to a generous donation from the Halleran family and the support of community partners including Columbia Basin Trust (CBT). The Halleran Collection, valued at $750,000, consists of about 250 nature-oriented video programs produced in British Columbia over the decades – first by Mike Halleran and then by his son Terry.

These shows, known collectively as the Westland series, were broadcast by the Knowledge Network from 1984 to 2007. They examine a broad range of issues associated with forestry, fresh water fishing, endangered species and ecosystem restoration. The donation also includes an extensive library of 2,000 source tapes.

Terry Halleran donated the bulk of the collection to UBC Library, and the remainder was purchased. Halleran was introduced to the Library by Don Laishley, a UBC alumnus and member of the Library’s Advisory Board.

“We took a lot of pride in what we did. It wasn’t always easy, but we believed in environmental education,” says Halleran. “UBC Library was the obvious choice for us, considering the long-standing relationship between our series and the expertise UBC faculty and students brought to the table.”

Halleran notes that the Westland programs have been used as teaching tools in classrooms at UBC and elsewhere since the 1980s. The programs also feature some former UBC faculty members.

“We anticipate that with increasing interest in natural resource management, environmentalism and sustainability, this collection will be of considerable interest to a variety of researchers at the university and the broader community,” notes Chris Hives, university archivist.

Columbia Basin Trust is providing $100,000 to support the acquisition and digitization of the Westland series tapes.

“We’re delighted to contribute towards preserving the collection and making it available to all to study, reflect on and simply appreciate,” says Neil Muth, CBT’s President and CEO. “Thanks go to UBC for organizing this and to Terry Halleran for donating a huge portion of the collection.”

Other community partners that provided funds to support the purchase of the collection include the Okanagan Region Wildlife Heritage Fund Society, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and the Regional District of Central Kootenay.

Halleran would like to recognize the Kootenay Wildlife Heritage Fund and the British Columbia Conservation Foundation for their support with the preservation and management of the Westland series in advance of its transfer to UBC. University Archives staff have begun preparing an inventory to enable access to the Halleran Collection.