UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Who shall remain nameless?makers and collectors in MOA’s Nuu-chah-nulth basketry collection Garvey, Charlene


This thesis grew out of a close examination of the UBC Museum of Anthropology Nuu-chah-nulth basketry collection and the related information about it held by the Museum. While examining the Museum’s documentation of this collection it became evident that the Museum had records of the names of most of the collectors of these baskets but the Museum had few records which identified the makers of the baskets. This paper examines the documents surrounding the Nuu-chah-nulth basketry collection as artifacts in their own right. It explores why certain forms of information (in this case the names of the collectors) became associated with a group of objects while other forms of information (the names of the makers) were not. It suggests that the ideological frameworks reflected in the colonial foundations of both private and museum collecting and the interpenetrating categories of “Primitive Art”, “Tourist Art” and “Women’s Arts”/”Crafts” have produced a system of values whereby certain objects and forms of information were deemed to be of greater importance than others. It concludes that the increasing number of makers who are being identified in recent years at this Museum signals shifts in the above mentioned categories as they are criticized and reinterpreted and it also reflects changes in the relationships between collectors, museums, and the peoples from whom their collections originate.

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