Katie Fisher is Glenbow’s in house pest expert. A lifelong museum visitor, Katie wanted a job that involved objects and history, ideally something that was ‘hands-on’! Museum Conservation fit the bill and a project in the migration habits of the carpet beetle brought Katie to the study of pests. Preventing damage in a a museum is not just about insects. Light and moisture can also destroy objects and the floods of 2013 were particularly horrible for some Alberta museums. Katie was part of the Glenbow team of experts that helped the Museum of the Highwood recover from the flood.
Every object, whether it is on loan from another museum, a new or possible aquisition, or part of the collection returning to the museum must be checked for possible hazards. If an object is suspected of carrying any stage of insects – it gets a stay in the deep freeze! This specialized freezer can handle large objects and can be cooled to -30 degrees celcius. Right now, in our small freezer, is a few tins of supplies from the McClintock Arctic Expedition of 1857. Canned Ox Cheek Soup, anyone?
Though it is hard to choose a favourite from over one million artifacts, Katie has a soft spot for the wedding rings that belonged to John and Mildred Ware. Like most of the objects in our collection, it is their story that makes them special. John Ware was a cowboy and rancher that was born a slave and gained his freedom after the American Civil War. He travelled to Alberta on a cattle drive to the Bar U ranch and stayed. He married Mildred in 1892, shortly after starting his own ranch, and they had five children before Mildred tragically died in 1905. John, never the same without her, died soon after. Mildred’s wedding ring was lost until their original house was moved to its present site in Dinosaur Provincial Park and the ring reappeared in the foundation. The rings are now together again at Glenbow.