In recent decades, museums in North America have moved towards an awareness of the cultural sensitivity of objects in their collections and have formed new understandings of the 'right ways' of storing and handling materials. While conservators and First Nations have developed a collaborative relationship on this issue, differing conceptions of preservation remain. Both groups agree that it is important to preserve heritage, but what exactly is being preserved, and how does one determine the best way to do it? Preserving What Is Valued explores the differing, and often conflicting, viewpoints of museum conservators and First Nations peoples regarding heritage preservation. Beginning with an examination of the professional discipline of museum conservation, it describes the values entrenched in the codes of ethics and the scientific methods applied in the care of ethnographic collections. It then gives voice to the First Nations perspectives on museum and cultural preservation. Personal conversations and interview excerpts from individuals from various nations form the basis of a thought-provoking discussion on 'cultural significance,' current museum practices, and the restoration and use of artifacts. In interviews with Maori and non-Maori museum personnel, Clavir draws noteworthy comparisons between museums and First Nations peoples in British Columbia and New Zealand.Preserving What Is Valued is critical reading 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