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 7 - Nov. 2001
In May 2000, CAM's President was able to travel to Canada to attend the meeting of TCTOP, the International Committee for the Training of Personnel (ICOM) to make a presentation with the Secretary General, Lois Irvine, on the challenges of creating learning programmes for differing cultural backgrounds with special reference to Africa and CAM's Distance Learning Program. On the way, he was able to stop in Calgary to make a presentation of the Cowrie Circle pin to former CAM President, Duncan F. Cameron, in accordance with CAM's policy of making such awards in person whenever possible.
The presentation was made at a small dinner honouring Cameron and was a particularly pleasurable one for Arinze who has known and respected the recipient for many years.
Duncan Ferguson Cameron, FMA, FCMA, a Canadian, is a museologist, author, teacher and museum director who has pursued an international career in museums and cultural affairs, from 1956 to the present.
Since the late 1950's he has done pioneering work in the quantitative analysis of museum visitors, education through museums, collections management, and since 1969, issues surrounding museum ethics and practice, definitions and purposes, and the genesis of the museum idea in societies world wide. One of the strongest museum directors and visionaries in Canada and a pragmatic and effective museum manager, Duncan is at heart a theoretician and critical thinker, looking for answers to the most fundamental museum questions. He has been a generous mentor and friend to many young professionals throughout his career. More than a hundred of Duncan Cameron's articles and papers have been published in Canada, the United States and abroad.
His museum career began at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, in 1956, and for six years, the Director, Theodore Allen Heinrich, was his tutor. He went on to international consulting assignments, to conceive and plan the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, as well as a number of other museums and art galleries. He was the Curatorial Consultant to Expo 67 in Montreal, and from 1968 to 71 was the national Director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the national arts lobby.
In 1971, he went to New York to direct the Brooklyn Museum of Art, returning to Canada in 1974. He was then an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario for two years and in 1977 he was appointed Director of the Glenbow Museum, Calgary. He retired from Glenbow, and the burdens of administration in 1988, to devote his time to research, writing and teaching. In 1995, he was a Visiting Teaching Fellow in Museum Studies at Massey University, New Zealand. For the last three years he has been labouring over a major work on museum theory and on bad days he says he wishes he had never started. On good days he's too busy writing to talk about it.
Duncan Cameron has been active in many museum organizations over the years. He was President of the Commonwealth Association of Museums from 1983 1989. He was also instrumental in setting CAM on a new course when he initiated the development of the Distance Learning Program in basic museum studies in November 1985.
He has contributed many papers to CAM meetings since that time and actively served on the Executive Council and as Treasurer. The Cowrie Circle is presented for outstanding contributions to museums in one's own country, to the international museum community, particularly the Commonwealth, or to the Commonwealth Association of Museums. Duncan Cameron is honoured for his outstanding work in all three areas and serves as a model of exceptional professional excellence. We have been very fortunate to have him in our Association.