Lessons Learned: Reconciliation
Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau, QC, Canada
Conservation is no less a values-laden social practice than it is a science-based technical pursuit. To the extent that the theme of the 2019 North American Textile Conservation Conference is a retrospective concerning best practices and lessons learned from the decade of the 1980s to present, it is asserted here that in no other realm have we witnessed such profound developments in conservation practice as within the field of conservation values and ethics.
This keynote presentation provides an overview of significant milestones in Indigenous rights discourse in Canada and internationally from 1988 to 2018, which have each had significant filter-down effects in museum practices, including conservation. Within Canadian borders these developments include the 1992 Joint Task Force Report on Museums and First Peoples; the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples; and the 2015 Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls-to-action. Internationally, the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is key. An overview of these milestones is deemed of interest to conservators internationally for comparative purposes, relative to the state of museums and the heritage-related disciplines and professions in their respective countries.
“Lessons Learned: Reconciliation” places museum conservation practice in context within Canada’s overarching Indigenous reconciliation environment, by tracing the chronology of significant assessments and reviews, and linking these with important international developments impacting the work of museums and heritage professionals globally.