Farewell Dino Bob
Retiree Bob Campbell and new Manager of Curatorial Services at Exploration Place Alyssa Tobin – photo 250News
Prince George, B.C. -He’s been working with, or for , Exploration Place in Prince George since the early ’90’s and now Bob Campbell has officially retired from his post as Manager of Curatorial Services.
His retirement is coming much sooner than expected says Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calogheros, “but it is unavoidable.”
Campbell was involved in an accident at the Museum just before Christmas. He suffered two broken vertebrae in his neck and damaged his shoulder. The injuries have left him unable to carry out his job at the Museum.
“It is a huge loss for the Museum to have Bob leaving us earlier than was intended” said Calogheros. So while Bob Campbell won’t be working at the museum, Calogheros says he will still be assisting it ” We are very excited that he has agreed to work on a history book with us over the next couple of years so that we can capture that knowledge he’s been amassing for the last 15 years here in Prince George.”
Campbell joined the Fraser-Fort George Regional Museum as an institutional partner in the early 1990’s while he was still a Dinosaur Technician at the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller Alberta. He was a key figure in The Exploration Place’s institutional partnership with the Royal Tyrell and was part of several fossil hunts and digs the Museum took part in through the 1990’s.
Along with his wife, Elizabeth, Bob was contracted to do much of the exhibit design when the Museum was expanding and rebranding as The Exploration Place in 2000. In 2001 Campbell joined the Exploration Place staff as Manager of Curatorial Services.
For Campbell, it’s been a very fulfilling 15 years “You know, you’re trying to make an experie4nce for the public, luckily here, there is a great history. It’s been a very active town all of its life, and going back even farther, there is First Nations evidence right in town that goes back 9,500 years, so there’s an incredible history here and that makes it a lot easier.”
He says one the highlights of his time with exploration Place has been rebuilding a lot of the First Nations history in the area “A lot of it’s not a very happy history, but it’s still been rewarding because the First Nations, especially the Lheidli T’enneh have been thrilled to find out what the truth was in what went on in the early days of the City.”
Being a curator of a museum means you are constantly discovering treasures, and a lot of that treasure has come in the way of photographs “I think our photograph collection is now about 400 thousand” says Campbell. And while there have been many treasures discovered, he says his personal favourite was learning that Wally West was not just an incredible photographer who captured so much of life of Prince George on film, Campbell says West was also an inventor, who created his own equipment to create large panoramic black and white photos.
Campbell will leave the curatorial duties in the capable hands of Alyssa Tobin. She studied archeology but says she doesn’t have a different vision than that of her predecessor “Bob focused on paleontology and obviously I enjoy archeology, but I’ve learned a lot from Bob, so we’re actually quite similar.”.
Campbell says it’s time for someone new to be in the role “It’s good that the curatorial person changes, the person who is going to be replacing me, will have a different focus, and more stories of a different kind, different parts of our history will come out, from a fresh look and I think that’s very healthy.”