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039 Š Alex Mustard (UK) You have been warned

Winter 2014


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 Emily Carr Masterpieces now in the UK ROYAL BC MUSEUM WINS

Prestigious International award


WINTER 2014 FEATURE Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 Winners announced!


Feature More Than You See The Social And Economic Impacts of the Royal BC Museum


STAFF PROFILES Royal BC Museum welcomes New Members to the Board of Directors and Executive


GOING DIGITAL 100 Objects of Interest



MANAGING EDITOR Kathryn Swanson Membership & Marketing Coordinator  EMBERSHIP M EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Erika Stenson Head of Marketing & Development David Alexander Head of New Archives & Digital Preservation Erik Lambertson Corporate Communications Officer Gerry Truscott Publisher

Royal BC Museum Staff Prepare for 10 Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia

Jenny McCleery Graphic Designer

FEATURE 12 DNA Traces the Migration of BC’s Alpine Species FEATURE 16 Webster! FEATURE 18 Royal BC Museum Wins Prestigious International Award

Shane Lighter Photographer


What’s inSight is an electronic magazine released four times annually, in March, June, September and December, by the Royal BC Museum. In the interest of keeping our administrative costs low – and our carbon footprint small – this print version is provided to members without computer access only.

FEATURE 20 Emily Carr Masterpieces Now in the UK A Closer Look ABC’s of the Royal BC Museum 22 Assfish, Brotulas and Cusk-eels

ONE MORE WAY TO GO GREEN Contact Kathryn Swanson to request a digital version of What’s inSight 250-387-3287

Volunteer Profile Collaborating for Conservation 24

Cover Image


Wildlife Photographer of the Year Finalist 2014 Invertebrates Alex Mustard, United Kingdom Image Title: You have been warned

Dear Friends, This year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year celebrates its 50th year and we are proud to present this global showcase of the very best of nature photography in an exhibition featuring all the finalists and winners. Don’t miss it. Over the years the competition run by London’s Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide has grown in stature, attracting thousands of entries from almost one hundred countries around the world. For us, it is a moment to reflect on the beauty and diversity of life on our planet and to highlight the scientific work we do at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Our museum researchers study the history of nature in British Columbia and in this unique region life’s intensity is obvious. Our collections are the most important record we have of our natural world. The rarity of some species we preserve in our natural history collections, such as the first records of spiders, insects and deep sea fishes, new range records for alpine plants, and new marine invertebrates found during museum expeditions, highlight what we stand to lose in an increasingly industrialized world. For us and for future generations, the pressure of globalization and change on life’s many forms increases the value of what exists today. Whether preserved as museum specimens, seeds, DNA sequences or the exquisite photographs in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, the value of our natural world cannot be understated. Yours,

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 Grand Title Winner: Carlos Perez Naval, Spain Age 8 | Image Title: Stinger in the Sun

Professor Jack Lohman, CBE Chief Executive Officer, Royal BC Museum



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Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 Winners announced! C

elebrating 50 years of images Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014, showcases award-winning images that tell astonishing stories of our natural world while pushing the boundaries of technical skill. Wildlife Photographer of the Year champions ethical photography. Images are chosen for their artistic composition, technical innovation and truthful interpretation of the natural world.

Each image is printed large scale and installed onto backlit frames so that the viewer becomes immersed in the vivid colours and stunning detail. The Royal BC Museum is delighted to bring this feature exhibition back for another year and with 100 new images and stories to be told of the wildlife of our world, you’ll want to come visit again! Wildlife Photographer of the Year opens December 12, 2014. Included with admission or membership. Learn more at

LEFT Detail of Winning image by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols, USA Image Title: The last great picture Technical specification: Canon EOS 5D Mark III + 24–70mm f2.8 lens at 32mm; 1/250 sec at f8; ISO 200.

Grand Title Winner: Michael “Nick” Nichols, USA Nick set out to create an archetypal image that captured the essence of lions in a time long gone, before they were under threat of illegal killing, habitat loss and retaliation by herders and farmers who perceive lions as predators to their livestock. The Vumbi pride in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park are a ‘formidable and spectacularly co-operative team,’ Nick says. Here the five females lie at rest with their cubs on a kopje (a rocky outcrop). Shortly before he took the shot, they had attacked and driven off one of the pride’s two males. Now they were lying close together, calmly sleeping. They were used to Nick’s presence as he’d been following them for nearly six months, so he could position his vehicle close to the kopje. He framed the vista with the plains beyond and the dramatic late afternoon sky above. He photographed the lions in infrared, which he says ‘cuts through the dust and haze, transforms the light and turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost’. The chosen picture of lions in Africa is part flashback, part fantasy. Nick got to know and love the Vumbi pride. A few months later, he heard they had ventured outside the park and three females had been killed.

Wild Romance February 14, 2015 I 8 – 11 pm $30 per person | 10% member discount 19+ only, ID Required Birds do it, bees do it, but how? Do something unique this Valentine’s Day and go wild over an entire evening at the Royal BC Museum without the kids, filled with fabulous performances, inspiring presentations and a lot of fun! #RBCMNight

Purchase tickets at

Wild Romance Fun Fact: The longest penis (relative to its body size) in the animal kingdom belongs to the barnacle

More than You See The Social and Economic Impacts of the Royal BC Museum By Erika Stenson, Head of Marketing & Development and Angela Williams, Chief Operating Officer


or more than 128 years, the Royal British Columbia Museum has preserved, explained, and celebrated BC’s heritage. Our millions of artifacts and archival records exemplify what is BC. The museum and archives’ striking mix of natural and social history enables us to tell a wide range of stories: of land, people and place that is the fabric of Western Canada. Today, we attract an estimated half a million visitors a year and our special exhibitions contribute more than $36 million in incremental GDP to the economy. Visitors are drawn to the quality of our galleries, our world-famous


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dioramas and our engaging temporary exhibitions and programming. But the Royal BC Museum is more than what you can see. Our mandate is to promote an understanding of the living landscapes and cultures of British Columbia and engage people in a dialogue about their future. This means we take a leadership role in areas of research, social interchange and economic growth. The Royal BC Museum consistently invests in BC’s tourism industry by presenting temporary feature exhibitions that drive visitors to the region. From Dinosaurs to Vikings,

the museum and archives draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Victoria every year. 33 per cent of people surveyed at the Royal BC Museum in August 2014 indicated the primary reason they came to Victoria was to see Vikings. 48 per cent of summer visitors were from out-of-province. It is estimated that our special exhibitions generate more than $36 million in additional GDP income for the province, and additional household income – enough to support an additional 303 full-time jobs. In addition to supporting the business of the region, we are a primary

Chinese-Canadian youth assisted with the decoration of Chinese New Year in Old Town.

education facility. With more than 30,000 K–12 students and more than 82,600 people taking part in our programming each year, as well as numerous university students and researchers from around the world, we provide students opportunities to see for themselves where they fit in the wider world through the BC lens. Under the leadership of Professor Jack Lohman, we have put a focus on building engagement with tourism partners, academia, First Nations groups and other museums. We nurture these relationships in support of our mission to take a leadership role in research and scholarship, develop world-class collections and deliver innovative partnerships and programming. We are drawing on the importance of contemporary research as a vivid representation of how the past shapes all of our lives today. The Royal BC Museum is intrinsically involved in many of the biggest issues of our modern day: from undergoing environmental reviews of natural resource landscapes, operating as the provincial fossil and archaeological finds repository, providing DNA banks for plants and animals, and working with the Invasive Species Secretariat, to providing ongoing support for Treaty negotiations and repatriation to supporting education through the development of an online web tool for K–12 and on-site school programs.

The list of programs is almost endless and all undertaken in support of a strong province and communities. The museum and archives is a vibrant and progressive institution, taking our place on the international stage. And we have much to offer globally in terms of skills, experience and collections. Recognizing that the stories of BC don’t just belong in BC, we are taking the opportunity to reach out and share our unique worldview through international partnerships, loans and exhibitions. Given the growth of our international audiences at home, this strategy is also directed inwards to assist in strengthening our offer to audiences across Canada. The Royal BC Museum’s buildings are at the end of their useful life. Without renewal, this could have a deleterious effect on BC’s culture and education, as well as the region’s capacity to grow the economy.

As a proven economic driver for the province, the Royal BC Museum is critical to the success of British Columbia. Without the museum and archives, we cannot tell the story of British Columbia and Canada. It is time for renewal – after almost 130 years of growth, we must look forward and leave a strong legacy for future generations. Our forefathers had the vision to establish this institution, and in 1967, create the existing site. The time for reinvestment in infrastructure has come – the opportunity exists to celebrate the Royal BC Museum’s 130th birthday in 2016, and Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. We call on the all the citizens of the province to support us on this exciting journey. After all, we’re more than just a museum – a simple displayer of artifacts. We are your heritage, and proud to be your stewards. 5


Royal BC Museum welcomes new members to the Board of Directors and Executive By Erik Lambertson, Corporate Communications Officer


n the past few months the Royal BC Museum has welcomed two new directors to its Board and two new members to its executive team. The new directors are Mark PalmerEdgecumbe and Raymond Protti. We anticipate their respective backgrounds in technology and diversity, and finance and government, will strengthen an already formidable set of skills at the board table.

Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe

Raymond Protti

Royal BC Museum Board Director

Royal BC Museum Board Director

Dr Scott Cooper

Peter Ord

Vice President of Exhibitions Innovation

Vice President of Archives, Collections & Knowledge


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Mr Palmer-Edgecumbe is the Head of Diversity at Google for Europe, Middle East & Africa. Prior to joining Google, he was the Global Head of Diversity at Barclays Group. He has also held roles in management consulting at Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. Mr PalmerEdgecumbe is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on global diversity and inclusion issues. He is a former Governor of the Museum of London and the former Chairman of the Museum of Docklands London. He was ranked among the top 25 most influential LGBT people globally by the 2013 and 2012 World Pride Power List. Raymond Protti was President and CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association from 1996 to 2007. Before that, he spent more than 25

Artist Rendering of refreshed Royal BC Museum

Museum & Archives. He was founder and principal of Archaeomark Consulting in Vancouver, a cultural resource management company working with First Nations, post-secondary and NGO clients throughout BC from 1997 to 2005. He is presently President of the BC Museums Association and has been on the board since 2004.

years in the federal public service, where his positions included Deputy Minister of Labour, Director of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service and Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Mr Protti has served on numerous boards, including Ryerson University, the Toronto Community Foundation and St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation.

Dr Cooper joins the Royal BC Museum from the Qatar Foundation, where as Director of Museums he developed four museums in the heart of Doha. He was previously CEO of Fulham Palace, the Tudor residence of the bishops of London. He was Treasurer of the International Council of Museums (ICOM UK) from 2008 to 2011 and is the former Head of Hammersmith and Fulham Archives.

The Royal BC Museum’s executive team has also seen growth with two new world-class (human) acquisitions: Dr Scott Cooper and Peter Ord. Dr Cooper is the new Vice President of Exhibitions Innovation and Mr Ord is the new Vice President of Archives, Collections & Knowledge.

Dr Cooper studied engineering at the University of Manchester and architectural conservation at Edinburgh College of Art. He was awarded a UNESCO scholarship to study stone conservation in Venice and subsequently returned to Edinburgh to complete his doctoral research on Scottish history.

Mr Ord arrived in Canada in 1996 after completing his MA in Social Anthropology & Archaeology from Edinburgh University. Before starting his career in the heritage sector, Mr Ord worked in the corporate world in London, UK. He received his BA in Economics and Asian & Pacific Studies from the University of Victoria in 1986.

In overseeing Exhibitions Innovations, Dr Cooper is responsible for delivering public learning programs, maintaining the Royal BC Museum’s exceptional visitor experience and overseeing the design, production and presentation of exhibitions.

Peter Ord joins the Royal BC Museum with the goal of aligning the museum’s collections and knowledge departments with the vision of creating a world-class institution.

We are fortunate to welcome these four, as their dynamism and experience adds even more strength to the leadership of the museum and archives.

He previously spent nine years as manager/director of the Penticton

Learn more about all the Royal BC Museum staff and board at



100 Objects of Interest A Rare Glimpse into the Museum and Archives’ Collections By David Alexander, Head of New Archives & Digital Preservation


here are more than seven million objects in the Royal BC Museum’s collection. Together they make up the stories of the province. A small fraction of these objects can be experienced within the galleries but the remainder live behind the scenes – within the archival stacks, workrooms and warehouses – and are seldom seen. A new website that launched recently aims to change that. 100 Objects of Interest pulls the curtain back revealing artifacts, specimens, archival records and works of art. The website features a photo of each object and a brief description of its significance. The objects will rotate over time, as new items are uploaded to the site.

Some of the 100 Objects of Interest are well-known and hugely popular, such as John Lennon’s famous yellow psychedelic Rolls Royce Phantom V Touring Limousine, which wowed crowds at Expo 86. Some objects, like the Ground Mantid insect, are tiny and almost impossible to see in their home environment – in this case, the sandy grasslands in the extreme southern Okanagan Valley, a threatened and disappearing ecosystem. Each of these items have a story, some reflect the pains of our provincial history, like the silk kimono originally owned by a JapaneseCanadian woman interned during


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the Second World War. Other objects, like the Humboldt Squid, were selected because its recent presence on local shores hints at the repercussions of climate change and the fluid nature of what comprises “British Columbian” fauna. But other objects were chosen because they represent and celebrate British Columbia’s complex history, natural abundance or rich cultural heritage; in fact, several works of Emily Carr in this collection satisfy all three criteria. From “Kispiox Village (1912) to “Sombreness Sunlit” (1938-1940), viewers can see how Carr’s preoccupation with First Nations life and the spiritual power of the West Coast forest never wavered, even as her technical skills and painting style evolved. In recognition of the immense cultural, political and historical impact of First Nations peoples on British Columbia, 24 of the objects are First Nations artifacts or artwork, both ceremonial and contemporary. One object sheds light on a surprising interaction in British Columbia history from a First Nation’s perspective: the Tla-o-qui-aht mask, attributed to a carver named Atlieu, capturing in stark, startled detail the surprise of a white man’s face upon learning of the extent of a chief’s territories. The shortlist of 100 was made subjectively, but each object

One of one-hundred objects featured, the Humboldt Squid (Dosidicus gigas) are distributed farther south in deep offshore waters ranging from Chile to Mexico. However, within the last decade, Humboldt Squid have appeared sporadically off the coast of British Columbia.

speaks to the living landscapes and cultures of British Columbia. Seen collectively, they represent British Columbia’s range of ecosystems and climate, the province’s astonishing abundance of flora and fauna and the complex histories of the people who have settled here over millennia, sometimes clashing but working towards peaceful coexistence. Experience 100 Objects of Interest at The development of the online collection was supported by the Francis Kermode Group, patrons who advance the work of the Royal BC Museum.

Join the Francis Kermode Group By Jonathan Dallison, Major Gifts Manager


urgess Shale fossils from the Middle Cambrian, paintings by Emily Carr and Sophie Pemberton, a giant squid, revitalization efforts for 36 First Nations languages, holotypes in our herbaria and wet collection, the original Douglas Commission (circa 1858) which created the Colony of British Columbia and appointed James Douglas as its first Governor: these are just some of the unique treasures from our collection which our Francis Kermode Group patrons have enjoyed seeing up close during the past few months. If you would like to enjoy a special relationship with the Royal BC Museum and our world-class team of curators, conservators, researchers, collections managers and archivists,

please consider joining this visionary group of patrons. Named after the Royal BC Museum’s first director, the Francis Kermode Group deepens its engagement throughout the year with an exclusive series of customized learning opportunities, special privileges and social events. We are next looking forward to a behindthe-scenes tour of the creation of our upcoming exhibition Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC in the new year. Annual membership is $2,000 which includes a fee of $500 to cover membership benefits and program costs, along with a voluntary contribution of $1,500 which is eligible for an official tax receipt. Francis Kermode Group patrons receive an invitation to our annual

gala and also enjoy reciprocal admission privileges to more than 500 selected museums and art galleries across North America, special discounts off IMAX and the Royal Museum Shop, acknowledgement on our donor wall and in our annual report, complimentary copies of Royal BC Museum publications, and the opportunity to participate in selected off-site tours. If you would like to learn more about the Francis Kermode Group and enjoy the company of other patrons as you explore all the Royal BC Museum has to offer, please contact Jonathan Dallison, Major Gifts Manager, at 250-413-7756 or

LEFT Marji Johns, Collections Manager, Paleontology, sharing a close-up look at newly accessioned fossil specimens. BELOW Francis Kemmore Group patrons socializing and enjoying the Our Living Languages: First Nations’ in BC exhibition. 9

Royal BC Museum Staff Prepare for Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia By Kyle Wells, Communications Specialist


ork is underway by Royal BC Museum staff as they get ready to unveil the 2015 major exhibition Gold Rush!: El Dorado in British Columbia.

Royal BC Museum Head of Exhibitions Mark Dickson and his team are already immersed in the world of Gold Rush! and are well on their way to presenting it to the public in May 2015. One of the main components nearing completion is the first thing visitors will see when they come to Gold Rush: an enormous, eight-by-10 foot vault door that will serve as the entrance to the exhibition and is being built on-site at the Royal BC Museum.

Gold Box Bill Reid (Haida, 1920-1998) Bill Reid studied European jewellery techniques and produced a number of modernist pieces in gold, turning to Haida-style carving and graphic design in the late 1950s. Killer whale and Beaver are featured on this box, which is based on the shape of a kerfed wooden bowl. The box will be a highlight of the Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia exhibition, which opens May 2015 and later travels to the Guangdong Museum of Chinese Nationals Living Overseas, Guangzhou and the Canadian Museum of History, Quebec. RBCM 13902 a,b


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“You’ll actually walk through an open vault door,” Dickson said. “It’s pretty cool.”

August 14, 1872 and Cornelius was made postmaster, a position he held for 40 years.

Museum and archives staff have also been busy collecting and transporting some of the rare and treasured artifacts that will be featured in the exhibition, including an original stagecoach on loan from the Historic O’Keefe Ranch in the northern Okanagan.

With the post office at the ranch, a stagecoach service was also soon established.

The stagecoach will be one of the key artifacts of the exhibition. Cornelius O’Keefe, the namesake of the ranch, was responsible for convincing the Canadian government to establish a post office for settlers who had made the central interior of BC home after the Gold Rush. The post office was established on

This original stagecoach on loan from the Historic O’Keefe Ranch ran on this weekly route, stopping in places along the Cariboo Road that would later become communities: Clinton, 100 Mile House, 108 Mile Ranch, Quesnel and Williams Lake, to name a few. Transporting the stagecoach to the Royal BC Museum provided some challenges for Object Conservator George Field and Exhibit Fabrication Specialist Cindy Van Volsom, who

were charged with retrieving the stage coach from the ranch. In the end, they had to temporarily remove its large wooden wheels and the luggage rack to make it fit in the back of a moving truck. Once the wheels and rack were off, however, the stagecoach fit the truck like a hand in a glove. “It went so smooth it was scary,” said Field. “We had about a half-aninch to spare.” From there on out the delivery of the stagecoach to Victoria went off without a hitch. It will require some cleaning, and reassembly, before it goes on display but is otherwise in great shape. With the stagecoach comes also a list of rules for its passengers, encouraging men to only chew, not smoke, tobacco when women and children are on board, and to refrain from drinking, unless willing to share. “To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and un-neighborly,” reads the sign.

A vintage 1853 piano, known as the Peace Piano, on loan from the Yale Historic Site, was also carefully transported to Victoria on the same trip. Built by Marshall & Traver in Albany, New York, the piano is well known for having provided a musical bridge between gold seekers and First Nations during the Fraser Canyon War, an armed skirmish that broke out in 1858. Field said heading out to these historic locations and retrieving these amazing historic artifacts is one his favourite parts of the job. “It’s always different,” he said. “It’s tiring and everything else, but it’s interesting. That kind of stuff is lots of fun.” Both artifacts are in storage, awaiting their debut at the opening of Gold Rush!: El Dorado in BC on May 13, 2015. The design work for the exhibition is also moving forward, as Royal BC Museum staff work on creating the hundreds of mounts for all artifacts,

Conservator George Field prepares stagecoach loaned by O’Keefe Ranch for display in feature exhibition: Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC

both borrowed and from the museum and archives’ collection. Display cases are also being built for the high-value items, with security top of mind. Prototypes are being built for the hands-on, interactive features of the exhibition. Once built, these mockups will be tested with the public, to gauge their level of interest and to ensure the interactive features are accessible yet engaging. Simply put, it’s a hive of activity behind the scenes at the Royal BC Museum. Dickson said it’s satisfying to see it all come together and he’s looking forward to the exhibition’s opening. “I have fun with all my projects,” he said. “There are always challenges, but this is the fun stage of any project, where we’re building something for the public to see and enjoy.” 11

DNA Traces the Migration of BC’s Alpine Species By Kendrick Marr, Curator, Botany and Dr Richard Hebda, Curator of Botany and Earth History

For many years, the idea that an enormous ice sheet covered all of BC during the last ice age was a widely-accepted theory. But recent advances in DNA sequencing of plants are helping change this idea. In fact, field work and DNA analyses are even challenging the pervasive idea that following the ice age, plants that returned to BC solely came from outside of BC. Surprising new insights into the history of BC’s flora are emerging from the analysis of alpine plant

DNA. The same approach traces the ‘Out of Africa’ migration of our own species. We are interested in plants of the widespread northern hemisphere alpine-Arctic tundra, whose history is strongly linked with the coming and going of glaciers during the Pleistocene Epoch. Via the Arctic, BC’s mountains provide a pathway of migration among lower latitude mountains of Europe, Asia and North America. We have studied five species to date. The results indicate that following


Figure 1, Mountain Sorrel Geographic distribution of mountain sorrel genetic types by region, from 140 populations (~ 1 sample/population). Each circle represents a geographic region. Each colour represents a genetic type. Circles including the same colour share the same genotype. Numbers within circles are the number of genotypes found only in that geographic region. Arrows indicate the most likely direction of migration. Dashed line between eastern Russia and Siberia indicates an apparent barrier to migration as no genetic types are shared across this line. Photo by Kendrick Marr taken in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, on Well’s Gray Peak, 2010.


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the last ice age, the ancestors of some of the plants now living here arrived from the north and south as has long been proposed. But surprisingly, there is compelling evidence that some populations survived within the limits of the ice sheet in previously unsuspected ‘refugia’ (areas that were not covered by ice). It is commonly held that an ice sheet covered almost all of BC about 15,000 years ago. After the ice melted, plants and animals recolonized BC as

suitable habitats became available. It is easy to imagine that warmth 5 requiring lowland species migrated from the south. But where did the cold-adapted high mountain species come from? In 2001 we began collecting and preserving for DNA analysis leaves of 10 widespread north hemisphere alpine-Arctic tundra species from diverse and remote areas of northern BC, while at the same time making comprehensive plant collections of this poorly known region (See Winter 2013 edition of What’s inSight). 6 If ice-free areas did exist within BC during the last ice age, then tundra 2 species, adapted to survive cold climates, would have been present. To place BC in its proper context we needed samples from 15outside of the province. We enlisted the assistance of more than 40 botanists in the US,

Yukon, Asia and Europe to collect samples for us. Leaves removed from historical, dried collections (herbaria) held at the Universities of Colorado, Wyoming and Washington filled in key geographic gaps, although the success rate in retrieving DNA information was lower than with freshly collected tissue. In 2010, a grant from the Walton Innovation Fund gave us the important opportunity to collect samples from the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. In 2011 and 2012 we made collections in eastern Russia and Alaska, generously supported by the October Hill Foundation. The collecting locations from Russia and Alaska occur along the likely migration route of tundra species connecting the mountains of Central Asia/Himalayas and western North America.

For this study small sections of DNA are ‘sequenced’ from many individuals of the same species. Sequencing reveals the order of the four chemical ‘bases’, commonly abbreviated as ‘A’, ‘T’, ‘G’ and ‘C’, that make up the DNA molecule. When a cell divides, its DNA is copied so that its daughter cells receive the full complement of DNA, but occasionally errors (‘mutations’) occur: e.g. an ‘A’ might be replaced by a ‘T’, ‘C’ or ‘G’ or several bases might be inserted or deleted during replication. Descendants of an individual in whom a mutation occurs bear that same mutation. Individuals that bear the same DNA sequence belong to the same ‘genotype’ or lineage. The longer a population remains in one location, the greater the number of mutations that will accumulate, thus the greater the number of genotypes. When a species spreads


Figure 2, Altai fescue Distribution of genetic variation by region in Altai fescue from 54 populations (~5 samples/population).




into new locations, such as a previously glaciated landscape, only a few individuals establish the new population, thus it is unlikely that all of the genotypes of the source population will be present in the new population. The number of genotypes decreases with each subsequent dispersal event. Generally speaking the more genotypes in a region the older the landscape is likely to be. The first species we analyzed, ‘mountain sorrel’ (Figure 1), revealed that populations survived the last ice age in multiple regions including Beringia (those parts of Alaska and the Yukon that have never been glaciated), the western USA and, contrary to expectations, within the borders of BC. Survival in BC was demonstrated by two genotypes occurring only in BC, and not found north or south of our province. Populations from eastern Russia and those from Alaska share many genotypes as would be expected, since during glacial periods sea level was lower and a broad expanse of land connected eastern Asia to

western North America. The absence of shared genotypes between Siberia and North America indicates a very long period of separation. Fewer genotypes occur in southern BC than in northern BC and for the most part, the same genotypes do not occur in both areas, suggesting different landscape histories. Surprisingly, few genotypes occur in the Arctic, an indication that the species spread there relatively recently. The DNA sequences of the grass Altai fescue (Figure 2) hold surprises too. Most of the genetic diversity of this northern species is found in BC and the southern Yukon, not central Asia! It must have migrated from northwest North America to Russia, where almost no genetic diversity exists, and despite the species’ name, the roots of this grass are North American. The migration patterns revealed by this study could not have been predicted without our genetic studies. They raise important questions about the origin of BC’s

plant and animal species and bring into question the concept of a province-smothering ice sheet at the end of the ice age. Our goal is to analyze another six species for which we already have samples, to strengthen the case for this deep time interpretation view of our alpine tundra flora. Some tundra species are adapted to a harsh landscape with little soil development and short growing seasons; others grow only in meadow habitats with more soil development and longer growing seasons (i.e. milder climatic conditions). Studies of additional species might reveal the nature of the ice-free habitats, even what kind of animal life they might have supported. Each species may have its own story and thus illuminate more widely the origin of the flora of the northern hemisphere.

This project has ramifications for international research and has the potential to reshape our understanding of British Columbia’s natural history. The next step, the analysis of each one of the additional six species samples necessary to further this research, involves DNA extraction and sequencing which costs approximately $12,000 per species. If you are interested in furthering our growing understanding of British Columbia’s natural history, and would like to donate to support this research project, please contact Jonathan Dallison, Major Gifts Manager, at 250-413-7756 or Photo by Kendrick Marr of Dr. Richard Hebda, in a meadow of Altai Fescue in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia.


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MEC Protects and Supports Royal BC Museum Researchers


s Canada’s leading gear supplier, we are stoked for the beginning of a new partnership with the research teams at the Royal BC Museum. We’re proud that they trust us for their outdoor and safety gear. From urban neighbourhoods to the awe-inspiring beauty of Canada’s wild spaces, adventure can lead us

around the block, off the beaten path, or all the way off the map. Learn about the unique and aweinspiring environment that BC has to offer at the Royal BC Museum, and get outside for your own adventures with MEC Victoria this winter, and every season.

10% OFF EVENT MEC Victoria 1450 Government St Thursday, December 11, 2014 5–9 pm Bring this coupon with you to receive your discount.

Scandinavian Treasures Tour Experience Northern Europe, historic home of the Vikings, with a Royal BC Museum Guide Viking legend and history come together, as you join a Royal BC Museum guide to visit some of the most famous sights and stunning locations in Scandinavia. Join us for this one-of-a-kind 12-day adventure, where we visit Stockholm, Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark and Oslo, Norway and take in Viking lore, learning and legend. May 9 – 20, 2015 $5,995 per person* Limited seats available; book today with our tour expert Tamra Bartilucci Flight Centre 1-866-420-4410

Tour information, prices and dates are correct at the time of printing, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. Airfare and additional fees not included. Itinerary subject to change. Please confirm all details at the time of booking. See website for more information. *Tour price does not include applicable taxes. Based on double occupancy. Single supplement $1462.


WEBSTER! By Ember Lundgren, Preservation Manager


n 1987 iconic BC journalist and broadcaster Jack Webster and Vancouver-based BCTV jointly donated 1,150 episodes of the current affairs program Webster! to the BC Archives. With more than 2,000 video cassette tapes and 1,725 hours of mostly live interviews, little did Jack Webster know after a career that covered print, radio and television, he would have to move to yet another medium: digital.

Jack Webster started his newspaper career as a copyboy in Glasgow at age 14. After serving in WWII, he moved his young family to BC where he began reporting for The Vancouver Sun in September, 1947. After a dispute about over-time pay, Jack left The Vancouver Sun and was fortunate that local radio station CJOR offered him a job doing a 10minute daily current affairs show. Webster admittedly didn’t know the first thing about radio, and on his first day in 1953 a veteran broadcaster


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told him if he was going to make it in radio he would need a catch phrase. “How about ‘precisely’? Listen to Jack Webster at 6:10 pm Precisely! What do you think?”

television than it may have on radio. Viewers could now see that a tough question was asked, “with a little bit of a sparkle in my eye, or a little bit of a smile.”

Webster did indeed make it in radio, and is considered one of the pioneers of the call-in and talk radio format. After 25 years in radio, covering current events throughout the lower mainland, and BC, “Mr. Precisely” moved, along with that famous catchphrase, to yet another journalistic medium, television; on October 2, 1978 the very first episode of Webster! aired on BCTV at 9 am precisely!

For almost a decade Webster interviewed provincial, federal and international politicians, entertainers, union leaders, First Nations leaders and environmentalists. His phone lines were always open for the general public to voice their concerns, get answers and debate the issues. Webster considered himself a, “pioneer of information” and to do that he reviewed, “… every piece of new legislation, translated it into language people could understand.” Broadcast live every day, Webster! provided guests the ability to communicate their message, knowing they wouldn’t be edited. Guests still had to answer Webster’s tough – but fair – questions, not to mention those of the general public who were waiting patiently on the phone lines.

The move to television was just as daunting for Webster as his foray into radio 25 years earlier. He was so anxious he made sure the contract permitted either side to walk away after six months if the situation didn’t work out. In truth, Webster found that his gruff, hard-nosed interview style came across better on

In 1986 Jack Webster retired after a 40 year career in BC journalism and the Jack Webster Foundation was created; winning a Webster is the highest journalistic honour in BC, a true testament to how important Jack Webster was to BC journalism. Images and sound on magnetic media, like the video cassette tapes used to record Webster!, have been identified as one of the most difficult media to preserve. In the past, the information on older video was copied onto a newer video type, but that only delayed the inevitable. Now the ‘new’ video is digital. There are two main issues which cause all magnetic media to be at risk for loss: chemical instability and obsolescence. Chemical instability is inherent and cannot be stopped. ‘Sticky shed syndrome’ affects the layer that holds the magnetized information; humidity begins to react with the binder in that layer causing the tape to become sticky. If played this layer will shed from the plastic base, causing complete loss of information and possibly damaging the machine it is played on. Obsolescence is the other problem with magnetic media; video cassettes require specialized machines to read the information and play it back through a monitor. Manufacturers no longer make the machines, and second-hand machines, parts and maintenance are difficult to source. The entire Webster! collection was recorded on ¾ inch U-matic tape stock, now obsolete and unfortunately one of the worse stock types for sticky shed syndrome. BC Archives has two machines that can play this type of video, and we

Sample of ¾ inch U-matic tape stock. An obsolete and fragile tape that contains the only remaining recordings of Webster! Episodes.

received them used. So we have several problems to deal with: old tapes in poor physical condition, not enough machines and a collection that is not accessible. In fact, the Webster! cassette tapes are in such poor condition that we cannot play them; the risk of damaging the tapes and the machines is too great. The New Archives and Digital Preservation department undertook a pilot project to work through the process of digitizing such a large collection. Archivists at the BC Archives assessed the content of the episodes based on line-up sheets provided at the time of donation. They chose 350 episodes as a priority; 15 episodes were then chosen for our project. Research into file types was an important part of the process; we had to make the best choice possible. Once the file types were selected we needed a lab that could generate the files, provide technical information about the transfer process (metadata), and safely transfer, clean and bake (yes bake!) the tapes for the safest, most complete transfer possible. Due to the age and condition of the original video cassettes there will

be no second chance to copy them, so the care and maintenance of the new digital preservation file; as it will become the original, is not a “once and done” event. Maintaining and providing access to those digital files will continue well past my retirement. Just like the Webster! video cassettes, the new digital files we create today will become obsolete, software and computer technology change rapidly. This is where digital preservation comes in, ensuring long-term access and reliability of those digital files and maintaining the information about the process. Thanks to generous funding from the Taylor Trust, the Royal BC Museum and BC Archives is prioritizing the digital preservation for the 350 episodes identified as a first priority. Over the next two years Webster! episodes will be shipped to the lab, cleaned, copied and each file created will be quality checked by our preservation specialist. At the time of publication we have digitally preserved approximately 100 episodes. Copies will be viewable in our reference room and we plan to stream them on our website in coming months.


Royal BC Museum Wins Prestigious International Award By Erik Lambertson, Corporate Communications Officer


ust as every great concert pianist relies on the behind-thescenes talents of a tuner to help produce beautiful music, every great museum relies on the largely invisible technical skills of conservators to feature exhibition artifacts at their best. And the Royal BC Museum has ample reason to publicly sing the praises of our conservators, who in October won the prestigious Keck Award for the conservation of the Chinese Freemason’s Lantern in 2013. The Keck Award is an international conservation award given out every two years by the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) to the individual or group who has “contributed most towards promoting public understanding and appreciation of the accomplishments of the conservation profession”. This year’s award was presented at the 2014 IIC Congress in Hong Kong on September 26, and was accepted by Lisa Bengston, the Royal BC Museum conservator who coordinated the project. In spring 2013, we began the labourintensive process of conserving the lantern in front of the public, in a modified lab within the temporary exhibition Tradition in Felicities: Celebrating 155 Years of Victoria’s Chinatown. Exhibition visitors 18

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were able to witness Lisa, along with a crew of five conservators, three student and two volunteer conservators, cleaning and stabilizing the lantern, and were encouraged to ask questions about the process involved. The public conservation project took nine months.

The transparent approach sparked a number of spontaneous conversations between museum staff and visitors. Some visitors recalled as small children seeing the lantern hanging in the Chinese Freemason’s tong hall in Victoria’s Chinatown, illuminated by the original lights, paper horsemen in animated gallop. This kind of community engagement and education was an unintended but welcome consequence of opening up the process of conservation.

“Preservation of the collections is at the core of what we conservators do,” said Lisa. “It feels good to have raised awareness and fostered an understanding and appreciation of our profession with a broad public audience.” Even so, many visitors have only a vague sense of what conservators do. Museums are guardians of material culture, collecting, preserving and exhibiting artifacts so that we can learn from their histories. Typically conservators work behind the scenes to ensure that material culture survives. “Occasionally this process involves glamorous restorations, but more often it is a simple chemical or physical stabilization of the materials,” said Kasey Lee, Royal BC Museum Conservation Manager. “In this project, we produced a video, showing a marvellous reproduction of the lantern as it would have once looked, with colourful lights and dancing figures, allowing visitors to see a virtual restoration of the lantern. “ You can view the animated video on the Royal BC Museum’s Vimeo channel, at In addition to the international recognition of our peers in the museum world and a monetary award of £1,000, winning the Keck Award also brings some welcome

Lisa Bengston demonstrated conservation techniques while working on the Chinese Freemason’s Lantern in 2013 during the feature exhibition: Traditions in Felicities: Celebrating 155 years in Victoria’s Chinatown.

public attention to the work of our conservators. That said, public interest in conservation work is already growing. In response, Kasey and her team have recently opened a fascinating window on the work they do, blogging about the challenges and triumphs of their work at the museum and archives. The blog, at author/conservation, is well worth reading. Is the iconic image of the conservator in white cotton gloves a misleading visual cliché? What would possess you to vacuum the sea lions in the Royal BC Museum’s seashore diorama? The blog answers these questions and, as the blog entries grow, can help satisfy your general curiosity about the science and art of conservation. Significantly, the timing of the Keck Award couldn’t be better, as this year conservation is the focus of the Royal BC Museum’s annual

fundraising campaign. There are a number of fascinating and valuable objects in the museum and archives’ collection that require support to conserve to a state worthy of public display, including the Col. Richard Moody album, containing the first photographs of First Nations in BC.

You can find more information about the conservation campaign at

Another object in dire need of treatment is an outfit that will be featured in the Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC exhibition slated to open May 13, 2015. Few dresses from the 1860s remain in BC – only two in the Royal BC Museum collection. Conservation of the badly worn silk began about five months ago. So far the skirt has been disassembled and cleaned; new silk, dyed to match the faded colours of the original fabric, has been hand stitched in place to reinforce weak and damaged areas. You can help with this project and others like it. Donations will go to preserving and providing access to precious objects from our past that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to conserve.

This bodice, half of a rare ensemble from the early 1860s, is being conserved so that it can be included in Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC.


Emily Carr Masterpieces in the UK as Ambassadors from BC By Erik Lambertson, Corporate Communications Officer


n the middle of October, staff at the Royal BC Museum meticulously packed up 25 remarkable paintings and sketches by the iconic Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr, in preparation for a loan to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, UK.

The artwork was packed into custom-built travelling crates, curious hybrids of a Russian nesting doll and bomb shelter. The nesting of padded boxes within boxes makes sense, given that the loaned Carrs are of various sizes, weights and configurations. And the bomb-proof construction, complete with plywood buttresses, insulation and vapour barriers, is a logical safeguard, given the material fragility and cultural and financial preciousness of the artwork

– not to mention the distance to which it must travel. Happily, the temporary loan of 25 original pieces still leaves the Royal BC Museum with an enormous wealth of Carrs. The Royal BC Museum has the world’s largest collection of works by Emily Carr, born in Victoria in 1871. The collection comprises more than 1,100 works of art (paintings and sketches), plus rugs, pottery and archival and library records created by her peers and scholars. The 25 works on loan to Dulwich include the famous oil painting Tanoo, Q.C.I., recently featured in the Royal BC Museum’s online collection, 100 Objects of Interest. Dr Kathryn Bridge, the Royal BC

Emily Carr on the beach on Tanoo, 1912. BC Archives F-00254

Museum Deputy Director and Head of Knowledge, Academic Relations & Atlas, noted that Tanoo, the largest painting in the Royal BC Museum’s Emily Carr collection, which depicts a village scene on Haida Gwaii, is the centerpiece of the Dulwich exhibition. Dr Bridge said that Carr visited remote, often abandoned, First Nations villages with Native guides, sketching the sites in situation and then finishing the works back in her Victoria studio. The Dulwich show, entitled From the Forest to the Sea – Emily Carr in British Columbia, helps trace this trajectory in her creative process, as other works loaned by the Royal BC Museum include watercolours and graphite sketches on paper that indicate how her initial rough ideas blossomed into large-scale paintings. The exhibition, which opened on November 1, 2014 and ends on March 8, 2015, features original Carrs borrowed from all over the world. “Getting our collections out, working for us abroad, is a major plank of our forward strategy,” said Professor Jack Lohman, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. Lohman has pointed out what first-rate ambassadors of our province these paintings are, showing off stormy coastal and brooding forest scenes of BC, as well as many First Nations villages that were embedded in nature.


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New Publication

From the Royal BC Museum

Dr Kathryn Bridge prepares Tanoo, Q.C.I. for exhibition in Dulwich, UK.

“Like all Canadian artists, she needs to be better known, to be perfectly honest,” said Lohman. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Dulwich Picture Gallery agreed. “This exhibition is a revelation to British and Canadian audiences alike,” said Director Ian Dejardin. “Emily Carr’s passionate engagement with both Northwest Coast indigenous culture and European modernism produced a body of work that is unique, rooted in the forests and landscapes of British Columbia,” said Dejardin. “Her story is one of extraordinary determination.” Carr is revered in Canada but is not as well known in much of the rest of the world. The Dulwich show, the first dedicated Emily Carr exhibition in the UK, provides an opportunity for British audiences to learn about her idiosyncratic life, her intimate

knowledge of First Nations coastal communities and how her painting style and subject matter changed over time. Just as significantly, the artwork loan positions the Royal BC Museum as a lender of significance, placing it on the European stage. However, lending (and borrowing) artifacts, specimens and artwork to other institutions is not a new approach for the Royal BC Museum. This past year alone, the Royal BC Museum made loans to 23 institutions around the world, from Prague to Quingdao. As the Royal BC Museum develops its 2015 feature exhibition, Gold Rush! El Dorado in BC, it has already struck partnerships with museums as far away as Colombia and China to borrow artifacts and send components as a travelling exhibition.

Emily Carr in England by Kathryn Bridge $27.95 / hardcover 978-0-7726-6770-0


istorian Kathryn Bridge takes a fresh look at Emily Carr’s time in England. She reveals new evidence that fills in many of the gaps in our knowledge of this important phase of Carr’s life, and she documents important connections with people that the artist maintained throughout her life. She illustrates her findings with historical photographs and Carr’s own sketches, paintings and “funny books”, some never published before. Altogether, this book gives readers an entertaining second look into a pivotal time in the life of one of Canada’s most famous artists.

Order your copy online at or purchase it at the Royal BC Museum Shop or your local bookstore. 21

ABC’s of the Royal BC Museum Assfish, Brotulas and Cusk-eels By Gavin Hanke, Curator, Vertabrate Zoology


t’s a misconception that humans have already discovered every species of flora and fauna on our planet. In fact, we’re still discovering species of fish here in waters off the BC coast – and oddly enough, within our own collections at the Royal BC Museum.

Cusk-eels and brotulas are an overlooked group of fishes – they aren’t that attractive, they’re not commercially important and most live in deep-water ocean. In other words, out of sight, out of mind. Until now, only Giant Cusk-eels (Spectrunculus grandis) and the Red Brotula (Brosmophycis marginata) were known to British Columbia waters. The Red Brotula is found from Alaska to Baja at depths of three to 256 metres, but is rarely collected for the Royal BC Museum. The Giant Cusk-eel is circumglobal, and in our region, extends from Alaska south to California at depths of 800 to 6,273 metres. We only have four Spectrunculus in our ichthyology collection. Several new cusk-eels and brotulas have been found because of collaborative work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) using the CCGS W.E. Ricker, the CCGS Neocaligus, and from the commercial fishery along the west side of Vancouver Island and Strait of Georgia. 22

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Our first specimen of the Spotted Cusk-eel (Chilara taylori) was caught in a prawn trap brought aboard M/V Helm’s Deep. The second was brought aboard the CCGS Neocaligus. These weren’t huge range extensions, but we now know Spotted Cusk-eels range from southern BC to Ecuador. The first (and only) specimen we have of the Black Brotula (Cherublemma emmelas) was spotted by Jody Riley while working for Archipelago Marine Research Ltd.’s fishery observer program. Black Brotulas were previously thought to range from Baja to northern Chile in the eastern tropical Pacific from 70 to 1,010 metre depth, but our single specimen from Kyuquot Canyon extends the species’ range roughly 2,890 kilometres north. The Bony-eared Assfish (Acanthonus armatus) is unmistakable and ranges through temperate and tropical seas at 1,171 to 4,415 metres depth. The species has been caught offshore of Colombia and Japan, but not any closer – until now. Our first and only specimen was caught southwest of Triangle Island at 1,778 metres, and represents the first record for the northeast Pacific. Bassozetus zenkevitchi, ranges from 200–6,930 metres in the Pacific off the shores of Honshu, Japan, Kamchatka, Russia, in the Bering

Sea, and northwest of Hawaii. We now have four specimens from our coast, caught between 1,909 and 2,125 metres depth. I expect these fishes also will be found in Washington and farther south. Another fish without a common name, Porogadus promelas, has been found near the Tuzo Wilson Seamounts, Queen Charlotte Sound. The first five specimens ever caught were from the Gulf of California (Gilbert 1891). As far as I know, this fish represents the northern-most record for Porogadus in the Pacific Ocean and extends the species’ range at least 3,000 kilometres. Like the Porogadus, the Rubynose Brotula (Cataetyx rubrirostris), was collected just east of the Tuzo Wilson Seamounts. Rubynose Brotulas are widespread in the Pacific, and our fish represents the first record in British Columbia and a 750 km CCGS W.E. Ricker

northward extension from the previous known occurrence off Nehalem Bank, Oregon. In contrast to the rest, The Pudgy Cusk-eel (Spectrunculus crassus) was found because of re-examination of museum specimens, not from additional deep-sea exploration. For years, the Pudgy Cusk-eel was lumped with the Giant Cusk-eel, but Uiblein and others (2008) gave a list of features distinguishing the two as species. Sure enough, the smallest Spectrunculus in the Royal BC Museum’s collection (976-01087-001) had to be re-identified, and extends the range of S. crassus 308 km north of the previous record near Tillamook Bay, Oregon. While we often think we know what species are present here in the Pacific waters of BC, especially when it comes to vertebrates, there still is room for extensive deep-water surveys; the deep sea still is very poorly understood. Since 2012, we have published records of 15 new fish species for our portion of the north eastern Pacific Ocean. These new fishes were found because of increased survey effort and review of specimens already in the collection. All of the new specimens mentioned in my papers were deposited in museum collections. We cannot underestimate the value of museum collections when studying biodiversity. You can talk to researchers and read their books and journal articles, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience with actual specimens. Museums are the only places where you can examine organisms caught a year ago or a hundred years ago, to verify which species were present on Earth.

Spotted Cusk-eel (Chilara taylori), RBCM 014-00032-001

Bony-eared Assfish (Acanthonus armatus), RBCM 012-00130-001

Black Brotula (Cherublemma emmelas), RBCM 014-00310-001

Bassozetus zenkevitchi, RBCM 010-00199-006

Porogadus promelas, RBCM 010-00342-001

Rubynose Brotula (Cataetyx rubrirostris), RBCM 010-00209-005

Pudgy Cusk-eel (Spectrunculus crassus), RBCM 976-01087-001

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Collaborating for Conservation By Claudia Copley, Entomology Collection Manager and Researcher and Kasey Lee, Conservation Manager


ehold: The most dangerous insect in the museum and archives! And while you are absorbing this fact don’t forget to look at the scale bar…

Dangerous, that is, to collections. The insect pictured is a dermestid beetle, also known as a carpet beetle or hide beetle. Do not let their small size and ladybug-like appearance fool you: they keep Royal BC Museum staff awake at night with worry because their larva eat natural history specimens as well as any human history objects containing natural material. Inspections for this group of beetles go on weekly in all of the collection storage and exhibit areas, because prevention is the key to protecting the collection. They do, however, still get in. And when they get into the entomology (insect) collection it can often mean the loss of an entire specimen, making any level of infestation a big deal. So, to further prevent dermestid damage, a Conservation Intern, Stephanie Chipilski, undertook research to determine the best method of sealing entomology storage drawers to exclude pests from entering through gaps in the bottoms of the drawers and feeding on the specimens. Stephanie looked at using mechanical means, such as foam and rubber gaskets, but these would require a great deal of work to prepare and install. She also looked at various sealants, including silicone and latex, but these were ruled out due to the 24

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off-gassing of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the drawers, possibly harming the insects within. Finally it was decided to use a hot melt adhesive, something that sets by cooling rather than off-gassing (though some off-gassing does occur while the adhesive is molten). Some hot melt adhesives emit more harmful vapours than others, so Stephanie researched the most inert and stable product currently available on the market. It was felt that the application of the hot melt adhesive into the spaces on the bottoms of the drawers would be safe for both the collection and the person applying the material, effective in sealing the gap, and quickly and easily applied. Fortunately there is published information on commercially available hot glues and their compatibility with museum collections. The Getty Conservation Institute, at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles, and the Centre de Conservation du Quebec in Quebec City, tested several hot melt glue products using Oddy Testing. The Oddy Test, named after British conservation scientist Andrew Oddy, is used extensively in museums to test materials for compatibility with museum collections, based on the VOCs they emit when heated. At the Royal BC Museum we regularly use the Oddy Test to determine if exhibit and storage materials such as wood products, plastics and fabrics might damage vulnerable collections. Since commercially available products

regularly change formulations, it’s important to test new materials to ensure that they are still safe. In the end, we chose one of the tested and recommended products called Bostik 6363, which was found to be safe and available at a reasonable price in Canada. Applying hot glue to the bottoms of 2,500 insect drawers without damaging the insects inside is a significant undertaking! And here the collaboration continued, with stalwart Entomology Volunteer Maurice Walsh agreeing to take on the task. Maurice is well underway with this effort: he has completed the dragonfly collection and is halfway through the butterflies and moths. As he is sealing the drawers he is also cleaning the glass, so things are protected and look good. This project is critical for collection care and the volunteers involved (both Stephanie and Maurice) deserve credit for helping us achieve it. Our thanks go out to both of them!

Conservation is a critical part of our work at the Royal BC Museum. It allows us to care for one of the largest museum collections in Canada and share it with future generations. This year, our annual campaign is in support of our conservation work, and we are requesting your help. If you would like to make a contribution, please contact us today at 250-387-7222 or

1 The harmful form of dermestid beetles are the larva because of feeding damage. These are a series of moults (shed skins) found in the insect collection. 2 An adult Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) a member of the most dangerous family of insects to the museum.

2 mm 1

3 This historic image of an infestation in the RBCM entomology collection clearly demonstrates the devastating impact of dermestid beetles. 4 Entomology Volunteer Maurice Walsh applying a critical bead of protective glue to just one of the 2500 insect drawers.

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Enjoy the Traditions of the Holiday Season

Christmas in Old Town

Carol-Along with the Carillon

12 – 4 pm November 14 – January 4 Included with admission or membership

4:30 – 5:15 pm December 7 Free

The sights and sounds of Christmas long ago. Marvel at the 4.5 metre Christmas tree, visit the woodcobbled streets laced with festive garlands and see the shops decked with seasonal finery.

Provincial Carillonneur Rosemary Laing will climb up the seventy five stairs to the top of carillon where she commands the sixty two bells, and down below the crowd led by the Newcombe Singers sing along. Enjoy complimentary cookies and hot chocolate and sing along!

Father Christmas 11 am – 3 pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays December 5 – 21 Photos by donation

Visit with Father Christmas in Old Town. Have your photo taken and share your holiday wishes. Kids’ Club Exclusive 9 – 10 am December 6 | Members only $10 supply cost per child

Join us for a morning with Father Christmas. Don’t forget your Christmas wish list! In addition to meeting Father Christmas, you will make a special Christmas Creation in Old Town. 26

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Helmcken House Old-Fashioned Christmas 12 – 4 pm December 20 – January 4 Included with admission or membership or by donation

Helmcken House comes alive with the spirit of Christmas. Visitors will discover the Christmas customs of early Victorians and marvel at the home decked with traditional handmade decorations.

A Delightful Local Holiday Gift Idea! Tea Master Daniela Cubelic, owner of Silk Road, was inspired by British Columbia when she created an exclusive tea for the Royal BC Museum. “I used a black tea base and combined native species of Nootka rose, black raspberry and cultivated cranberry and blueberry. The result is a refreshing taste of BC that can be enjoyed hot or cold!” said Daniela. The Royal BC Museum tea can be purchased at the Royal Museum Shop or at either Silk Road locations. The proceeds from the tea sales are donated to the Royal BC Museum foundation to support the work of the museum and archives.

What’s on

For a full listing of what’s happening at the Royal BC Museum pick up our 2014/2015 Program Guide at the Box Office or view our calendar online:

Museum HOURS: 10 am – 5 pm daily. Closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015.


Live@Lunch continued

Around the World with Robert Bateman January 28 | 7 – 8:30 pm Tickets: $75 per person 10% Member Discount Clifford Carl Hall Proceeds to the Robert Bateman Foundation

Beyond our Southern Shores February 4 & 7 | 12 – 1 pm Admission by Donation

Night Shift: Wild Romance February 14 | 8 – 11 pm Tickets $30 per person 19+ only, ID required Birds do it, bees do it, but how? We go wild for an evening of performances, presentations and adult only activities. International Mother Languages Day February 21 | 7 – 9 pm Tickets $16 per person Visit Our Living Languages feature exhibition and then join a discussion on how languages change.

Live@Lunch BC, A Language Hotspot December 3 & 6 | 12 – 1 pm Admission by Donation Speakers: Dr Martha Black, Curator of Ethnology and Michelle Washington, Cultural Programs Coordinator

Speaker: Heidi Gartner, Collections Manager, Invertebrates. Alaska: The Last Frontier March 4 | 12 – 1 pm Admission by Donation Speaker: Shelley Reid, retired Royal BC Museum Registrar

FRIENDS OF THE BC ARCHIVES Victoria – A City Goes to War January 18 | 2 – 3:30 pm Tickets $5 per person or FREE for Friends of the BC Archives Members. Speaker: Jim Kempling Ship Building in Victoria and Vancouver in WWI February 15 | 2 – 3:30 pm Tickets $5 per person or FREE for Friends of the BC Archives Members. Speaker: Chris Madsen

Travelling During the Holidays? Visit our partner attractions and receive 20% off when you display your Royal BC Museum Membership Card  Art Gallery of Greater Victoria  Glenbow Museum  Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre  Science World  Royal Ontario Museum (Online Purchases Only)  Museum of Vancouver  Vancouver Art Gallery  Victoria Butterfly Gardens  The Maritime Museum of BC  H.R. MacMillan Space Centre  Robert Bateman Centre  Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden  Fernie Museum  Mackie House  Yale Historic Site

IMAX FEATURES Now Playing Jerusalem Grand Canyon Adventure

FEATURE EXHIBITIONS Our Living Languages On now until 2017

The Evolution of Photography January 7 & 10 | 12 – 1 pm Admission by Donation

British Columbia Remembers: The Great War On now until 2018

Speaker: Don Bourdon, Curator of Images and Paintings.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 December 12, 2014 – April 6, 2015 Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia May 13 – October 31, 2015

Journey to the South Pacific Hollywood Feature films The Polar Express: An IMAX® Experience Interstellar: An IMAX® Experience Opening in December/January For more information and show times please visit or phone 250-480-4887

Programs and events subject to change. See website for the latest calendar.


Partner Profile

Stay Curious with Continuing Studies C

uriosity inspires us; it allows us to see the world from a new perspective and triggers the child inside us to keep exploring. If you’re naturally curious, then you’ll find yourself in good company at Continuing Studies.

Royal BC Museum members share a passion for discovery with thousands of people who enjoy continuing education courses at the University of Victoria each year. Stay curious and explore the world around you with some of the

fascinating, and often surprising, courses we’re offering this spring. You may find that one interest leads to another and opens up possibilities you hadn’t considered before. Continuing Studies is a place to connect with ideas and people in a way that is accessible, challenging and fun! The Spring 2015 Continuing Studies Calendar is filled with hundreds of courses that will further enrich your understanding of local history, contemporary issues, science and nature, languages, heritage and culture, and the arts.

Continuing Studies is not just at UVic – there are field trips and courses held at various locations around the city and elsewhere on the island. There are things to enjoy in the daytime, evenings and on the weekend. We hope you’ll get to know us and try a course, perhaps something completely new or renewing an interest you’ve always wanted to explore more deeply. Curious? Join us at royalbcmuseum

Helping Our Conservators One Gift at a Time By Jonathan Dallison, Major Gifts Manager and Kasey Lee, Conservation Manager


ave you ever wondered what difference you can make by donating to our annual campaign? You believe in the work of the Royal BC Museum, but would you like to know the kinds of things we can accomplish with your support? This year, our annual campaign is focused on conservation. This is the work that is needed to care for one of the largest museum collections in Canada. In order to preserve our unique natural and human history


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specimens for future generations to enjoy, our team of experts works very hard and, in the process, has even innovated new industrystandard techniques. Other museums have looked to us to provide insight into their own conservation challenges because we are at the leading edge of this discipline. Conservation is critical to the function of a museum. However, the actual cost of conserving priceless objects and archival records can be very expensive.

If you would like to support this work, here are a few examples of tangible work your donation could make possible: • A donation of $50 pays for a roll of acid free tissue used to wrap a rare book or stuff out a pair of moccasins. • $100 buys enough foam to line a crate holding a precious painting that is being loaned to a British gallery. • $250 can purchase a small, handheld microscope which can be used to view and photograph the deteriorating beads on an artifact. continues on page 29

Your support is needed We strive to keep prices as low as we can so we remain accessible to as many people as possible. As a result, admission fees and membership combined cover only 21% of museum expenses. The Province contributes 60% of our budget. Please consider making a donation today to help us care for and share our collection.  I would like to Give  $50  $100  $250  $500

Royal Museum Shop Intriguing and Unique Royal BC Museum members & IMAX season pass holders receive 10% off all purchases. Your purchases support the Royal BC Museum. No Admission Required.

Shop hours 10 – 5 daily Tel 250 356 0505

$ _________ Other

 Cheque (made payable to Royal BC Museum Foundation, charitable registration number #118933241RR0001

Please charge my  Visa  MasterCard

 American Express

 I would like to Give a Monthly Gift On the:  1st or  15th of each month, I would like to give:  $50  $100  $250  $500

Please charge my  Visa  MasterCard

$ _________ Other

 American Express





continued from page 28

• $500 allows us to purchase a mannequin that is custom made to support an historic dress in an upcoming exhibition. • $1,000 covers the cost of a custom cabinet purchased to house the Chinese Freemason’s Lantern that took over a year to conserve and is still very fragile. • $2,000 pays for the annual calibration of the environmental monitoring equipment that enables us to control the temperature and relative humidity in our collections storage areas. • $5,000 is the cost of the conservation treatment of flaking paint on the John Lennon Rolls Royce. • $10,000 enables us to clean and stabilize 100 glass plate negatives that were recently donated to us. Every donation—no matter what the amount—helps us to care for the collection we are holding in trust for you and for future generations. So, when you decide to support our annual campaign this year, please know that you are making a direct difference to the core work of the Royal BC Museum and that your generosity is greatly appreciated. Thank you! To donate to the Royal BC Museum today, please contact us at 250-387-7222 or

All gifts are eligible for a tax receipt. Please send my charitable tax receipt to: (Please print) NAME ADDRESS CITY





Other Ways to Give  I would like to learn more about leaving a gift in my will for the Royal BC Museum Foundation. Please contact me to confirm that my wishes can be honoured. Thank you for supporting the Royal BC Museum. Please return this form, along with your donation to: The Royal BC Museum Foundation 675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8W 9W2 For more information please Phone: 250-387-7222 Email: Web: Royal BC Museum Foundation Privacy Policy We want to keep you updated about the museum and archives. At the same time we value your privacy. The personal information collected on this form is collected under the authority of Section 4 of the Museum Act (SBC 2003, c.12) and will only be used to maintain our list of members, process payments, and provide you with the latest membership news. If you have any questions about your privacy please contact the Manager of Information and Privacy, 675 Belleville St., Victoria, BC, V8W 9W2; or (250) 356-0698.

Royal BC Museum Members enjoy a number of benefits including unlimited admission to:


Feature Exhibitions open

May 13 – Oct 31, 2015 In collaboration with EN COLLABORATION AVEC

supported by

Gold Rush: El Dorado in British Columbia is organized by the Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC, Canada; in collaboration with Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, Canada Ruée vers l’or! El Dorado en Colombie-Britannique est organisé par le Royal BC Museum, Victoria, BC, Canada; en collaboration avec le Musée canadien de l’histoire, Gatineau, QC, Canada.

What's inSight Winter 2014  
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