We’re pleased to introduce the latest member of our team. Jack Phillips is Curatorial Assistant at the JMABC for Summer 2017. His position is made possible through the generous support of the Government of Canada’s Canada Summer Jobs program. This program has allowed us to undertake numerous projects over the past year, and given us the opportunity to give valuable workplace experience to students and recent graduates entering the Heritage sector.
I recently graduated UBC with a Bachelor or Arts in History (Honours), and I will be working with the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC for the summer. The part of history in which I have a particular interest is military history. I wrote my honours thesis on British child combatants during the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary Wars, and I also volunteered at The Military Museums in Calgary while I was in high school. It was during my time at The Military Museums that I first came into contact with museum archives and collections, and this experience precipitated my love of working with historical sources first-hand. Working at the JMABC has allowed me to do what I love, while also letting me learn about the history of the Jewish community in BC.
As someone originally from the UK, and who only came to Vancouver four years ago after spending six years in Calgary, my knowledge of local BC history was sadly lacking. I hope my time at the JMABC will go some way to remedy that deficiency. The JMABC tirelessly promotes, collects, and brings awareness to the rich past of the BC Jewish community, and how that community has interacted and continues to interact with other groups within BC. To work with such an organization has been, and will continue to be, a hugely rewarding experience.
Since starting at the JMABC, I have been working on a number of projects, most relating to the great Jewish photographers of BC, including Leonard Frank, Otto Landauer, and Fred Schiffer. Through their photographs of the logging and mining industries on Vancouver Island in the early 20th century, and the construction of many of Vancouver’s buildings and bridges respectively, Frank and Landauer provide a record of the transformation of Vancouver and its surroundings into a thriving, modern region of the world. Schiffer was one of the foremost photographers in Vancouver during the 1960s to 1980s, taking portrait photos of everyone from the humblest Vancouverite to the most well-known faces of the time, including Louis Armstrong and the various premiers of British Columbia.
I am currently transferring an exhibition of Fred Schiffer’s work into an online exhibit. The exhibit documents some of Schiffer’s photos from his time in Argentina and Vancouver. The online exhibit will be part of the Google Cultural Institute, which works with museums and archives all over the world to make the viewing and enjoyment of the arts, history, and culture easier for the general public. It does this by making museum archives and exhibitions more accessible to more people online.
I look forward to learning more about BC Jewish history and about the Jewish community in BC in general, and I am incredibly grateful to the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC for giving my the opportunity to do so.