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Fragmented History: Objects and Meaning

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Fragmented History: Objects and Meaning features a selection of artworks and historical artifacts from the museum's own collection, and presents them in a series of thought-provoking displays that explore critical themes pertaining to collecting institutions.

The art of collecting is rooted in a desire to endow value and meaning to our lives through gathering and ordering of the material world around us. Motives that drive this accumulation of 'things' are complex and varied, ranging from the psychological desire to possess, the emotional need to preserve and remember, to the political and economic drive for power, status, knowledge and validation. The history of the Museum as an institution is inextricably linked to this practice, and the collections that it houses embody the assumptions about knowledge and value of the societies and culture that create them.

Fragmented History explores acquisition, organization and display of objects, addressing some key topics in collecting discourse-authenticity. fragmentation, classification, possession and imbuing of value. This exhibition includes artworks by well-known B.C. artists including Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt, as well as personal possessions from the estates of B.C. Binning and architect Hugh Hodgson in juxtaposition with other historical items from the Museum's diverse collections. The exhibition re-evaluated the relationships between institutions, visitors, objects and collections.