The Barkerville Heritage Trust announced Mandy Kilsby has been selected as the new curator for Barkerville Historic Town on Feb. 12.
Originally from Quesnel, Kilsby brings a tremendous amount of in-house expertise to her new role, having worked for the past eight years as curatorial assistant and librarian alongside Barkerville’s previous curator, Bill Quackenbush.
She has an extensive background in collections management, graduate-level research, writing, historical analysis and curatorial handling, documentation and the preservation of museum objects. As a researcher and writer, Kilsby’s subjects have covered national, local and provincial history, as well as historical and contemporary gold mining, genealogy and women’s history.
“I have a passion for the preservation of cultural heritage,” says Kilsby.
“As curator, I see my role as less a gatekeeper than a facilitator for the public to have access to the wealth of invaluable records and materials here in Barkerville.
“This work is particularly important in an age where we are seeing the closing of libraries and other repositories of indispensable public information.”
Kilsby brings to the position a master’s degree in Women’s Studies focusing on gender, language policy and history from Simon Fraser University, as well as a University Teaching and Learning Certificate. Her undergraduate work, culminating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Women’s Studies and History, also from SFU, was completed in 2002.
Since then Kilsby has actively bolstered her academic and curatorial training with numerous courses on archival and cultural resource management.
Her appointment as curator comes at a time of substantial transition for Barkerville. The recent installation of Barkerville’s new chief executive officer, Ed Coleman, this past January following the retirement of former CEO Judy Campbell, and the departure of previous Curator Bill Quackenbush after 28 years of dedicated service heralds a shift in personnel for the National Historic Site that represents both the continuation of decades of passionate and careful work and an avenue for the exploration of new and exciting ideas that is sure to benefit the organization moving forward.