Touchstones director is moving on

Leah Best has a new job at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

Leah Best is leaving her job as executive director of Touchstones Nelson to take a job at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

Leah Best is leaving her job at Touchstones Museum of Art and History in Nelson for a position at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

Best was the first executive director of Touchstones, which was founded 12 years ago as Nelson’s first public museum, gallery and archives. She came to Touchstones from the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“Thank you, Nelson, and I will miss you,” she said in an interview with the Star this week. “It has been the best personal and professional period of my life.”

She said her legacy was getting Touchtones up and running 11 years ago.

“It is now a well-functioning organization that has policies and procedures in place and that also has an excellent team of staff who know what they are doing,” she said.

“It was my job to come up with all the systems, what the hours would be, coming up with a membership program, taking an organization from a forming stage to a performing stage.”

Mayor Deb Kozak says she’s sad to lose Best but she’s happy for her.

“She came in as a very young executive director with real energy and imagination. Whenever you are starting something new there are twists and turns, and Leah handled them very gracefully and she did a superb job of setting up the gallery.”

In Victoria, Best will supervise up to two dozen curators.

“They are the scientists and the curators who help to interpret a massive museum collection. They do research and field work,” said Best.

“They collect specimens and archival material, and they work with other departments to develop exhibitions and programs.”

Best says the biggest challenge for museums is relevance. She thinks museums have to look at contemporary issues and put them in their historical context so the public can better understand them.

She cites Touchstones’ Roll On Columbia exhibit from 2015.

“We took the Columbia River Treaty negotiation that is going to happen sometime before 2024 and said, ‘Here is the context for it, and here are the public values we have now and how are they different from the 1960s.’”

She is also proud of the “intellectual activism” undertaken in some exhibits in the Touchstones gallery including Shelter and What I Eat, which looked at local housing and food, currently and historically.

Best’s last day at Touchstones will be August 19.

Just Posted

Public meeting Wednesday to discuss Cottonwood Lake logging

Concerned citizens have invited experts and politicians

Allison Girvan named Nelson’s 2019 cultural ambassador

Singer, performer, director, choral arranger has distinguished herself nationally

Free shuttle running at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Parking and main access have been ongoing challenges since KBRH construction began in October

Snowfall warning issued for Kootenay passes

Up to 35 cm of snow expected Monday night and Tuesday.

Business Buzz: The Buzz is Back in Nelson

Bob Hall is a volunteer director on the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Most Read