Congratulations to Assistant Director, Shirley Sutherland, on her upcoming retirement!
Throughout her career – including 28 years with the North Vancouver Museum and Archives – Shirley has made a crucial contribution to the evolution of programming as the key element in the public face of museums small and large.
Shirley is also recognized at the national level by the Canadian Museums Association for her outstanding service at four community museums, receiving the 2018 Distinguished Service Award.
Through Shirley’s three decades of incredible work for this institution as the head of education programs, she advocated for local history to be taken into the schools as well as the great outdoors.
She started the Annual Sea to Sky Heritage Fair in 2002 and fostered its yearly growth until it moved out to being a school run program. She has kept the waterfront alive with her vision of walking/talking historical characters who were shipyard workers, streetcar motormen, conductors and PGE train passengers. Her leadership also includes the earliest push to get exhibits online that endure still as Unlocking History and her latest project for kids Kidoons.
Through the years, many partnerships with community organizations, donors and funders have been forged by Shirley with lasting impact.
For example, she oversaw the development of a multi-year endeavour on the North Shore’s mountaineering history. This included the gallery exhibit, Peak Performance (2007); the Lynn Canyon Park interpretation program, Max and Molly the Mountaineers; the Climbing to the Clouds school program and webtour; and the development of the museum and archives collections, most notably with the acquisition of the BC Mountaineering Club Archives. As a result of her leadership and networking for all of these activities, the NVMA was awarded the DNV Heritage Advocacy Award, and these projects will endure long past her leaving.
Alas, only a few accomplishments are mentioned here. Shirley has mentored countless young people who entered promising careers in museums, archives, education, theatre and journalism. She has worked with four head archivists, three collections curators and three directors; a corporate memory that is too complex and deep to capture and preserve.
Lastly as Assistant Director, Shirley has been part of the journey alongside each director to manifest a new museum, an institutional goal that stems back to the founders of NVMA. Shirley will be missed, but has left us with a strong foundation for future programming and community engagement as we move into the new Museum she has championed for many years.
We rely on contributions, monthly or one-time gifts, to help MONOVA safeguard and expand our community’s archival and museum collections, build learning experiences and inspire future generations.
Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.