The Alberta Women’s Archives Association (AWAA) was a volunteer-run organization based out of Edmonton, Alberta that worked to preserve and promote the records of women’s history in the province. The AWAA helped individuals and organizations with archival material created by and about Albertan women to collect and preserve those materials, and donate them to an established archives.
In addition to encouraging the donation of records created by and about women, the AWAA also worked to increase public awareness of the value of these records. Outreach for these purposes included lectures, educational seminars, and a biannual AWAA newsletter.
The Association was originally known as the Northern Alberta Women’s Archives Project (NAWAP). Formed in 1989, NAWAP sought to address concerns that the records of the women’s movement in Edmonton were being thrown away. The project was sponsored by the Women’s Program and Resource Centre (University of Alberta Faculty of Extension) together with the Women’s Research Centre (Athabasca University and University of Alberta).
In the first year of the project, the team focused on contacting individuals active in Edmonton’s women’s communities between 1960 and 1980 for oral history interviews and records donations. By the second year of the project (1990), focus expanded to include women who were 65 years of age or older whose stories could represent the settlement of northern communities in the late 19th and early 20th century. Women involved in these early years of the project were encouraged to donate their personal papers to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.
In 1993, the project team formally registered as an association, changing the name from the Northern Alberta Women’s Archives Project to the Northern Alberta Women’s Archives Association (NAWAA), and incorporating under the Alberta Societies Act. In 1997, the Association registered as a charity with Revenue Canada. Membership to AWAA was open to any interested party for an annual fee.
On February 25, 2000, the Association applied for permission from the Alberta Societies division to change their name to the Alberta Women’s Archives Association (AWAA). The new name was thought to effectively reflect the Association’s outreach and contact with all Alberta women, and embodied the Association’s move away from regionally-focused services.
The group published two educational manuals on preserving women’s history in archives, the first in 1993, titled What's cooking in women's history: an introductory guide to preserving archival records about women. The second manual, Preserving women's history: an introductory guide to preserving the records of women's lives, was published in 2002.
In 2012, the AWAA officially terminated their status as a Registered Charity and dissolved the association. In August 2012, their remaining assets were gifted to the Friends of the Provincial Archives of Alberta Society, who used the funds to describe, process and make available various women’s collections at the Provincial Archives of Alberta.