When it comes to Canada’s cultural property,
B.C. has the most active provincial conservation group in the country - the Pacific Conservation Group (PCG)
. Its inaugural meeting was held in 1977 at the Museum of Vancouver, then called the Centennial Museum.
Canada’s trained conservators
are responsible for safekeeping of Canada’s cultural heritage in private and public collections. Papers at PCG’s biannual Vancouver/Victoria meetings reflect an enormous diversity of object types and materials. Last fall’s meeting at Craigdarroch Castle, for example, included presentations on the Japanese marine debris
collection at Royal BC Museum, the World Mummy Congress
in Spain, and by one of our most distinguished senior members, the use of western red cedar in indigenous artifacts
(Mary-Lou Florian, http://www.jamesbaybeacon.ca/?q=node/488
). As a paintings conservator in private practice, I reflected on some of my favourite projects involving murals and other paintings that narrowly missed destruction.
This spring marked the passing
of conservation pioneer Phil Ward
, who established Royal BC Museum’s conservation lab in the 1960’s https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timescolonist/obituary.aspx?n=phwiilip-r-ward&pid=192619058
, and the retirement of conservator George Field
- Shawnigan Lake resident, and Arbutus Café regular (see him at work in this link: http://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/collections/collections-care/about-conservation
). George began his career in Duncan at the Forestry Discovery Centre.
In case you’re wondering
about the photo detail, it shows crumbling gouache lettering on an original illustration for the book "Painted Fires" by Nellie McClung
. Painted by a female Canadian illustrator, the artwork was discovered in a Saanich consignment store. Since McClung was living in Victoria at the time of her death, it was likely in her possession before finding its way into the resale market and finally, the possession of a private collector.