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

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Nelson’s mural festival: scenes from opening night

Crowds wandered the streets and alleys finding delightful surprises in unlikely places

Smoky skies force flight cancellations

Air quality in West Kootenay also a health concern

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Vancouver Island woman to attempt historic swim across Juan de Fuca Strait today

Ultra-marathon swimmer Susan Simmons to attempt to swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

Most Read