Preserving What Is Valued explores the concept of preserving heritage. It presents the conservation profession's code of ethics and discusses four significant contexts embedded in museum conservation practice: science, professionalization, museum practice, and the relationship between museums and First Nations peoples.
Museum practice regarding handling and preservation of objects has been largely taken as a given, and it can be difficult to see how these activities are politicized. Clavir argues that museum practices are historically grounded and represent values that are not necessarily held by the originators of the objects. She first focuses on conservation and explains the principles and methods conservators practise. She then discusses First Nations people's perspectives on preservation, quoting extensively from interviews done throughout British Columbia, and comparing the British Columbia situation with that in New Zealand.
In the face of cultural repatriation issues, museums are attempting to become more culturally sensitive to the original owners of objects, forming new understandings of the "right ways" of storage and handling of materials. Miriam Clavir's work is important for museum professionals, conservators, those working with First Nations collections in auction houses and galleries, as well as students of sociology and anthropology.
Miriam Clavir is Senior Conservator at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, and an associate of the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, UBC.
Illustrations, Figures, and Tables Note about the Cover Preface Acknowledgments Introduction Part 1: Preservation and Museums 1 The Historical Development of Conservation and Its Values 2 Conservation Values and Ethics Part 2: Preservation and First Nations 3 First Nations Perspectives on Preservation and Museums 4 First Nations of British Columbia 5 First Nations, Preservation, and Conservation: Personal Perspectives 6 New Zealand: A Comparative Study 7 "For What We Do" Appendices A List of Participants B Conservation Codes of Ethics C Glossary of Maori Terms Internet Resources Bibliography Index