Collections in Context and Caring for Collections

by Annelise Kempling

What does the museum have? Why do collections matter? How are they cared for and stored? This playlist will use “This Week in History” TV segments and videos produced by the museum to highlight specific collections held by the Royal BC Museum, provide context for particular items, and show the work involved in caring for collections.

Driving on the Right and “Elizabeth”
Until January of 1922 British Columbia drivers drove on the left side of the road. Legislation changed in early 1922, requiring drivers to drive on the right side of the road.  Learn about "Elizabeth", a Model T Ford housed in  the museum's Old Town Gallery that would have been part of this transition from the left to the right side of the road.

St. Ann’s Academy and the First Printing Press in BC
St. Ann's school opened in 1858 and began sending pamphlets to parents explaining what they could expect from the school and courses to be taught. The printing press that created these pamphlets was brought from France and was the first printing press in BC. It is on display in the "Print Shop" in the museum's Old Town Gallery.

Jack Webster
1In 1 playlists
Iconic TV personality Jack Webster hosted a regular TV show from 1978-1987. The Royal BC Museum and Archives holds recordings of Webster episodes, but they are deteriorating and the technology used to play them obsolete. These recordings are being digitized to preserve this media legacy and to keep episodes of Webster accessible for future viewers.

Webster Precisely!
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Jack Webster was a well-known British Columbian journalist. BCTV donated all of the Webster! episodes to the Royal BC Museum. What will you discover about BC's recent past from the Jack Webster collection?
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Scotch Thistle
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The scotch thistle is bigger and flashier than its Canadian counterpart and some samples at the Royal BC Museum are among the oldest in the botany collection. They were gathered in the late 1800s by BC's first agriculture minister and their value in teaching us about invasive species may be even higher today.

Newcombe Collection
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The Newcombe collections consists of over 1400 pieces of Indigenous art. The items were collected by Charles Newcombe and his son William in the mid to late 1800s. Most of the items came with detailed documentation almost as valuable and informative as the objects themselves.

The Hoary Marmot
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The Royal BC Museum houses a diverse collection of animal skeletons and skulls. None are quite so intriguing as the "mammoth marmot" skull with overgrown, tusk-like teeth.

Spiny-Eared Assfish
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While on a deep water survey trip on October 11, 2006 museum scientists and researchers were thrilled to pull up a Spiny-Eared Assfish, the first discovered in BC waters.

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The Royal BC Museum houses nearly 100,000 fossils. Many of the pieces in the fossil collection were found by amateur collectors instead of archaeologists. Marji Johns of the Royal BC Museum and archives discusses the collection, the history of donation to the museum, some significant items, and where fossils have been found within the province.

Humboldt Squid
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This specimen was donated to the museum in 2004 after being caught by a local fisherman. It was one of the first Humboldt Squid to be collected off the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Being able to document the presence of this species will help determine where the species goes and their habitat range.

John Macoun Collection
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John Macoun is one of the founding contributors of the Royal BC Museum's botany collection. Macoun worked as a botanist for CP rail and collected and documented hundreds of species. His collection documents and provides samples for species that are now considered invasive and his collection also provides some hints about our changing climate.

Behind the Scenes: Entomology
Entomology Collection Manager Claudia Copley discussed the collection she cares for (insects!), how important insects are to ecosystems, studies of biodiversity, and the crucial role they play supporting human life.

Behind the Scenes: Textile Conservation
Royal BC Museum Textile Conservators Colleen Wilson and Kjerstin Mackie highlight the effort that goes into conserving textile collections through their work on one dress which will be part of the 2015 Gold Rush exhibition.