Stories, objects, and ideas from beyond the galleries
Are you ready to get up close?
UP CLOSE: Stories, objects, and ideas from beyond the galleries is RAM’s newest talk series. Beginning on April 30, we invite you to join our museum experts and learn about research and collections projects, meet special guests, and get up close with history!
UP CLOSE: Malignant Plastics
May 14, 2021, 12 – 1pm
Many historic objects were made using chemically unstable plastics like celluloid, PVC, and rubber. Less than ideal for long-term preservation in a museum!
How do we race against time to preserve artifacts made from these historical, deteriorating plastics? And how do we identify which types of plastics will degrade, and which are more chemically stable?
Join Alison Fleming, Objects Conservator, to look at the development of some early plastics, examine military and medical artifacts that used these materials in ground-breaking ways, and learn how the museum extends the life of these aging objects for future generations.
Alison Fleming is an Objects Conservator at the Royal Alberta Museum. She graduated from the Collections Conservation and Management program at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, and interned with Parks Canada at their lab in Winnipeg. Prior to joining the Royal Alberta Museum, she completed a fellowship with the objects lab at the Canadian Conservation Institute in Ottawa, and worked with ship models at the National Maritime Museum in the UK. A few years ago, she began a project to identify and rehouse malignant plastics here at the RAM.
UP CLOSE: Rainbow Bright
May 28, 2021, 12 – 1pm
From quilled rifle cases to handmade protest signs, RAM has plenty of colourful objects under our care. But how does the museum preserve colour of artifacts so they last for generations? It's a balance of light, material, and very careful calculations.
Take a deep dive with Carmen Li, Head of Conservation, to look at museum objects from a totally different perspective, learn how light and colour affect each other, and get a virtual behind-the-scenes look at the analytical techniques we use on objects.
Carmen Li is Head of Conservation at the Royal Alberta Museum and a conservator accredited with the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators. Carmen received a Master of Art Conservation from Queen's University and a Diploma in Collections Management and Conservation from Sir Sandford Fleming College. She worked at museums in Canada and abroad, including University of Alberta Museums, Museum of Northern Arizona, and completed fellowships or internships at the Canadian Conservation Institute National Museum of the American Indian, Fitzwilliam Museum and Royal Ontario Museum. Carmen currently oversees an active treatment and preventive conservation program for RAM’s large and diverse collections.
UP CLOSE: Alberta Quiltmakers and Their Quilts
June 11, 2021, 12 – 1pm
What stories can quilts tell us? How are quilting materials, designs and techniques unique to Alberta?
Join Lucie Heins, Assistant Curator of Daily Life and Leisure, to learn all about the Alberta Quilt Project. For six years, Lucie researched and documented quilts throughout Alberta to capture the history of quilting in the province, and uncover hidden community stories.
Lucie Heins is Assistant Curator for the Daily Life and Leisure program at the Royal Alberta Museum/. She has a Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Clothing, with a concentration in conservation, and a Master of Art in Human Ecology, majoring in clothing and textiles, from the University of Alberta Lucie has also worked on projects at the Textile Museum in Washington D.C., and in Haifa, Israel, attending to the textile collection at the Baha’i World Centre.
Past UP CLOSE talks
UP CLOSE: Mysteries Melting from the Ice
April 30, 2021, 12 – 1pm
As you wander through the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, you may feel very small among the rising peaks and glaciers. Yet below you, even smaller, unnoticeable collections of preserved plants, animal remains, and artifacts lie enclosed in the ice patches scattered among the mountains. Through these tiny treasures, we can unlock a glimpse into what these landscapes may have been like thousands of years ago.
Join Diana Tirlea, Assistant Curator of Quaternary Environments, to discover how people used the unique features of Alberta's mountains and ice patches, and how the forests and plants have changed over the past 6,500 years.
Diana Tirlea is Assistant Curator of Quaternary Environments at the Royal Alberta Museum. Diana has a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and a Master of Science in Ecology from the University of Alberta, and worked in wildlife rehabilitation as well as in environmental consulting. As Assistant Curator of Quaternary Environments, Diana works to maintain the diverse collections, including the Seed, Pollen and Tephra Reference Collections, and she conducts research primarily focusing on the reconstruction of past landscapes in the Canadian Rocky Mountains during the last 12,000 years.