C o m m o n w e a l t h
A s s o c i a t i o n o f
M u s e u m s
CAM Bulletin Number 3 - Oct. 1997
CAM will miss our Friends and Colleagues
It is with great sadness that we record the loss of four friends and colleagues who have meant much to the Commonwealth Association of Museums over the years and who will not be forgotten by those of us who had the privelege of meeting them and knowing them.
In March, we learned of the death of Mina McKenzie, co-rapporteur for the symposium "Curatorship: Indigenous Perpsectives in Post Colonial Societies," sponsored by CAM and the Cultural Resource Management Program, University of Victoria. Mina had been Director of the Manawatu Museum in Palmerston North, New Zealand from 1978 to her retirement in 1994 (she continued to be an energetic leader in many other projects). She was active on the New Zealand ICOM committee and served as President of the Art Galleries and Museums Association of New Zealand. As a Maori with strong belief and attachment to her mother culture, she was ever mindful of building bridges between Aboriginal and western cultures and maintained a sensitivity to people while discussing controversial issues with clear, unequivocal and humorous comments. Those at the symposium were delighted and balanced by her rapporteur's insightful remarks.
Over the summer, CAM lost two strong, young members from the Caribbean and Africa. We looked forward to seeing both of them take their place as leaders of CAM before their untimely deaths made that wish impossible.
Winnel Branche of Belize, an archaeologist, was Director of Museums for some years and was actively involved in the work for the new National Museum to the time of her death. She completed her MA in Museum Studies at the University of London and conducted research in England, the Netherlands and India before returning to Belize to work diligently and effectively for the preservation of Belize's cultural heritage.
As a CAM member, Winnel continued to work for museums and especially the ideals of cultural equity, organizing a CAM-assisted Caribbean workshop on "Museums, Ethics and Indigenous Peoples: Taking the Initiative", discussing the relationship of museums and indigenous peoples. She also addressed the 1994 Victoria symposium on 'Indigenes in Charge; Are Museums Ready' dealing with same theme from a different perspective. Winnel worked quietly and effectively for those museum ideals which many of us value highly.
George Mvenge was also an active CAM member. He participated in the Botswana seminar and outreach programme "Museums and the National Identity." George presented an excellent paper on 'Collections and the National Identity: The Relationship of Collections to the Role of Museums in Shaping National Identity.' Although not a long-time member of CAM, he worked on behalf of CAM and SADCAMM to promote collaboration between the two organizations and we spoke in the modern way, by e-mail, several times in the last year.
George was the Director of the Museum of Human Sciences, formerly the Queen Victoria Museum in Harare, Zimbabwe. His education was well-suited to the museum field with a BA in History and a graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), an MA in Anthropology from George Washington University in the USA, and a Certificate in Conservation from ICCROM in 1992. He was active in ICOM serving as the National representative from Zimbabwe, and he was Secretary of SADCAMM and editor of the newsletter.
Both these museum professionals were committed to their work and will be greatly missed by their professional communities in Africa and the Caribbean as well as the international community.
In September, CAM and museums lost a long time member and tireless worker for the international museum community, Professor Keith Thomson of New Zealand. CAM does not have first claim on his attention but rather shares it with many, many international colleagues and friends. His work, appointments and honours would fill many more paragraphs than we can print here. His recent posts include Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Massey University, Chairman of the Board of the National Museum of New Zealand, and Board Member of the International Pacific College. His academic field was geography and his additional passions were museums and drama. Professor Thomson taught in the Museums Studies programme of Massey University, and was instrumental in its establishment. He was an active contributor to ICOM, in particular the new Zealand National Committee, ICTOP and CAM.
Keith was really the creator of the CAM Newsletter, now the CAM Bulletin. He was a founding member of CAM in 1974 and on the Council until 1995. In 1986, he strongly expressed the view that CAM needed a better means of communication and, despite some doubt about our ability to keep it going, the Council accepted his generous offer to become editor. Although sometimes infrequent, the newsletter was resolutely published by Keith and his dedication spurs us on the greatel efforts to increase its frequency and meaning within our Commonwealth museum family. Keith was appointed to the CAM Cowrie Circle of Honour before his death.
We shall greatly miss our beloved colleagues and we join their families and many friends in wishing them peace on thei unknown journeys.
Farewell dear friends!