Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Preserving What Is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Preserving What Is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations

Article excerpt

Miriam Clavier, Preserving What is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2002), xxiv + 295pp. Cloth. £79.95. ISBN 0-7748-0860-8.

This is a research publication and only occasionally are there topics which might be of interest to the general reader. Part i contains two chapters, namely the 'Historical Development of Conservation and its Values', and 'Conservation Values and Ethics'. The first discusses the field of museum conservation in relation to science, the museum and its professionals, and the art world. Much of the material here reads like a textbook on conservation, as interpreted by the author's professional experiences. Especially in Chapter 2 the flow of any argument is broken by the use of many confusing subheadings and lists.

Part 2 is concerned with the central focus of the book, namely Aboriginal perspective on museum conservation. Chapter 3 is entitled 'First Nations Perspectives on Preservation and Museums'. Three tables in the chapter show columns contrasting the views of the traditional museum with those of First Nations. Tables like this can effectively highlight differences, but their value is limited for, as the author acknowledges, there is not one single homogeneous First Nations' perspective. Chapter 4 describes the First Nations of British Columbia. Chapter 5 gives a series of personal perspectives or personal narratives from chosen respondents. This chapter dominates the book, and much is said about the 'preservation-versus-access' dilemma. …

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