My work in conservation has focused on the relationship between museums and preservation, particularly in relation to Indigenous peoples’ material culture housed in museums. I have published a scholarly book, Preserving What is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations (UBC Press) and many articles on changes in museums and in conservation in response to Indigenous concerns; building relationships with First Nations communities on issues of preservation; and the museum itself and conservation values and practices. My later work concentrated on the underlying philosophical issues in museum conservation such as the preservation of cultural significance. For many years I taught about these issues and concerns at several universities. Now I’m retired, and Conservator Emerita and Research Associate at MOA, the UBC Museum of Anthropology.
Why did I choose museums and conservation? I grew up within walking distance of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and was very fortunate to be able to work in their Ontario Archaeology Department after graduating with my BA. Across the hall was Conservation. I began training as an objects conservator there and subsequently moved to the National Historic Sites Service, first in Ottawa and, after completing my Master of Art Conservation at Queen’s, to Quebec City. As well, I have taught museum conservation at several universities, both in English and en français.