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Preserving What is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations
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This is an exploration of 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. Miriam 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 conducted throughout British Columbia, and comparing the BC situation with that in New Zealand.