Thanks to funding through the Digital Access to Heritage component of Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program (MAP), the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum has been able to take significant steps toward digitizing its collections holdings. We are pleased to share progress on this project that began earlier this year.
MAP provides funding to heritage organizations to digitize collections and develop digital content. With the grant funding we received, one of our objectives was to scan 500 original blueprints of various aspects of the Diefenbunker’s construction. These blueprints include the electrical, water, and architectural anatomy of every aspect of the site from its construction between 1959 and 1961, and from later adaptations made to the site during its operation. We have since surpassed this goal, with a total of 515 scans currently completed, however, this is only a small portion of the many blueprint drawings that we have in our care. This project is of particular importance as it not only digitizes the architectural framework of our site, which is significant to its heritage value as a national historic site, but some of the blueprints also document other Cold War sites across the former emergency government shelter network.
As Canada’s most significant Cold War artifact, it is crucial to safeguard the history of the site and understand how the site works from a maintenance perspective. To that end, we maintained a consistent schedule to digitize a certain number of blueprints per month for this project. We made use of a large-format scanner graciously provided by the Ottawa Museum Network. With this, we were able to obtain high-resolution scans of the blueprints. These scans now provide us the opportunity for close examination of features in the building and they allow us to quickly assess different elements of the site’s structure and functionality.
This recently completed scanning project is one step in our larger goal of digitizing the Diefenbunker’s collections — stay tuned as we continue to unveil the collections of this once-top secret Cold War bunker!
Learn more about our other recent projects: