Mennonite Archival Information Database


On a snowy evening in Steinbach, Manitoba in 2010, archivists in town for a meeting of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada (MHSC) decided to form a committee for mutual support and cooperation among Mennonite archives in Canada. In 2012 the committee, meeting at MHSC sessions in  Vineland, Ontario, embarked on an ambitious project: to create one national archival database for photographs in our collections. A task group was appointed. The group consisted of Laureen Harder-Gissing (Mennonite Archives of Ontario), Alf Redekopp (Mennonite Heritage Centre) and Conrad Stoesz (Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies). Korey Dyck (Mennonite Heritage Centre) joined in 2013.


The International Council of Archives Access to Memory (ICA AtoM) open source archival description software, developed by Artefactual Systems, was chosen to house the database. AtoM was chosen because of its strong support of archival standards and because improvements to AtoM's open source code benefit the global archival community. Additional software development for our project was provided by Peaceworks Technology Solutions. The database is available on the Internet as a sub-domain of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada website.

Customizations to AtoM developed for MAID include an online ordering system, a slideshow on the home page, and a text editor for static pages. Initial archival content of 80,000 photograph descriptions and 10,000 scanned images was provided by the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies, Mennonite Archives of Ontario, and Mennonite Heritage Centre. MAID was made available on the Internet in February, 2015. Later in 2015, the other partners began to contribute content. For technical details on the MAID modifications to AtoM, see the AtoM wiki.


Mennonite archives and historical organizations across Canada were solicited for support of the development project. A group of seven initial partners contributed $26,000 in development funds. When the task group completed its work in 2015, a management group was formed to administer the database under the direction of the partners and the Archives Committee of the Mennonite Historical Society of Canada.

MAID Management Group, 2018
Laureen Harder-Gissing, Site Administrator (Mennonite Archives of Ontario at Conrad Grebel University College)
Conrad Stoesz, Co-Administrator and Chair (Mennonite Heritage Archives)
Alf Redekopp (Mennonite Heritage Centre, retired)
Hannah Keeney (Mennonite Library & Archives, Fresno Pacific University)

MAID welcomed its first cross-border partner in November 2016, the Mennonite Library and Archives (Fresno Pacific University) in California.


Archival partners provide resources to maintain and improve the database. We invite historical organizations with significant Mennonite photograph collections to consider becoming partners.  Cost recovery fees for photographs ordered online go directly towards the upkeep of the database. We also invite organizations, businesses and individuals that share our vision to become financial supporters. For further information on becoming a partner or supporter, please contact us.

Permission to Link

Permission is granted to include URL references to this database for noncommercial purposes, provided that proper attribution is given. If you establish a link, please let us know.