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Arts & Culture

Historian in Residence

The 2021 Historian in Residence was C.W. (Cory) Gross.

Chat about Calgary's past.

The Historian in Residence is a six-month paid residency that supports individual researchers working in any genre related to the social, cultural and built history of Calgary, Treaty 7 and Métis Region 3.

They deliver free programs and act as a mentor to historians, writers, and researchers through individual consultations, and curate an exhibit at Central Library.

Presented in partnership with Heritage Calgary.

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Meet C.W. (Cory) Gross

2021 Historian in Residence

C.W. (Cory) Gross is a professional educator with over 20 years of experience in museums and heritage. His primary field is the geology of Western Canada and its intersection with Indigenous, settler, and immigrant histories. In early 2020 he published his first book, The Ice Age in Western Canada.

About his research

C.W. Gross believes that there is no clear line between history and prehistory. Natural and cultural history are closer than we imagine, because our shared histories, cultures, and economies are ultimately shaped by the land and its resources. This is especially true of a city like Calgary that is built of sandstone, fuelled by the natural resource industry, and a stone’s throw from some of the most famous geological and palaeontological sites in the world. Whereas the typical work of the historian is the social, cultural, and built histories of a community, a “Prehistorian-in-Residence” studies the underlying landscape, geology, climate, resources, fossils, flora and fauna that formed the literal groundwork for these histories. His work will strive to enrich Calgarians’ understanding of the natural forces that shaped our community through talks and local tours, culminating in a “Calgary’s prehiStory” exhibit of natural and cultural history objects at the Calgary Public Library.

Book a virtual one-on-one consultation

Book a one-on-one virtual appointment with C.W. (Cory) Gross, Historian in Residence. Cory is a professional educator with over 20 years of experience in museums and heritage. His primary field is the geology of Western Canada and its intersection with Indigenous, settler, and immigrant histories. During his residency Cory will be researching the natural and cultural history of Calgary's building stones, particularly our famous sandstone, and would be happy to discuss this or answer any other questions you may have.

C.W.  is available for one-on one virtual consultations: 

Tuesdays, 5:00 – 7:00pm  
Thursdays, 5:00 –7:00pm 

To book a one-hour consultation, please use the calendar booking link.

Book a one-on-one consultation now

Online programs with the Historian in Residence

Attend online programs with C.W. Gross during his residency. Registration is available online. 

See the programs

Book Selections from former Historian in Residence, C.W. Gross

Southern Alberta is one of the most beautiful, sublime, and awe-inspiring places on Earth. From Indigenous peoples to pioneering settlers to recent immigrants to tourists saving an entire lifetime for a single visit, how we relate to this landscape is one of the defining features of our culture. The following books, recommended by 2021 Historian in Residence C.W. Gross, share the fascinating stories of Alberta’s rocks, fossils, landscapes, wildlife, and how they have shaped who we are.

See the list.

Booklist General

Explore a Literary Map of Calgary

For over two centuries, writers have lived, gathered, and spent time in Calgary. Scores of novelists, poets, and essayists have captured the city’s historic and contemporary landmarks in words. This digital exhibit reveals the extensive and surprising dimensions of Calgary’s literary landscape. Shaun Hunter, author of Calgary through the Eyes of Writers, created this map while serving as the 2020 Historian in Residence for Calgary Public Library and Heritage Calgary.

Explore Calgary's literary map

Watch Shaun Hunter's presentation of her Literary Map of Calgary

The 2020 Historian in Residence guides us through Calgary history and shows what she discovered through her research creating A Literary Map of Calgary. This video is great for all those interested in local history and especially good for students in Grade 5.

Watch the video

Jessie and Matt talk sash (weaving)

Between July and December of 2019, Jessie Ray Short was the Historian in Residence at the Central Library. During her time in residence, Jessie researched the links between Métis history and her family. In Jessie and Matt talk sash (weaving), she continues this vein of exploring personal and cultural interconnections with her friend and sash weaving teacher, Matt Hiltermann, as they meet and discuss the historical context and contemporary developments of in the art of Métis sash weaving. Presented in partnership with Heritage Calgary.

Watch the video online, or stop by Central Library during the month of January to see it playing in the Patricia A. Whelan Performance Hall (subject to other bookings in the performance hall).