Fonds 21 - Elizabeth Johnson fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Elizabeth Johnson fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material
  • Sound recording
  • Moving images

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the name of the creator of the records.

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Physical description area

Physical description

4.85 m of textual records
ca. 0.55 meters of photographs
63 audio cassettes
6 video cassettes

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1941 -)

Biographical history

Elizabeth Lominska Johnson was born in Ossining, New York in 1941. In 1963, she received a B.A. in Psychology from Bucknell University. After receiving this degree she travelled in Europe for a year. In 1965 she married Graham Johnson. In 1967, she received a M.A. in Anthropology from Cornell University. Subsequently Johnson moved to Hong Kong where she lived from 1968 to 1971. Johnson continued to study at Cornell and in 1976 she received a Ph.D. in Anthropology upon completion of her dissertation, "Households and Lineages in an Urban Chinese Village," which is a study of the effects of rapid urbanization upon kinship groups in a two-lineage Hakka village.

In 1974 and 1975 Elizabeth Lominska Johnson was engaged as the "Coordinator, China Resources Project," at the University of British Columbia (UBC). In this position she acted as a liaison between local schools and researchers focusing on China at UBC. In 1977, she was employed as a museum cataloguer on a part-time basis both by MacMillan Bloedel, and by the Museum of Anthropology (MOA). From 1978 to 1979, she was employed as the Public Programmes Coordinator by the Vancouver Museum and Planetarium Association, where she developed, implemented and supervised new courses, social events, and lectures. Since March 1979, she has been an employee of the Museum of Anthropology. Until August 1986, she was Curator of Collections. In this position Johnson was responsible for the intellectual and administrative control of artifacts in the museum’s collection through registration, conservation, loan procedures; development of policy and procedures, the planning a new textile storage system, providing collections information to the public and the creation of publications relating to the collection.

Since August of 1986, she held the position of Curator of Ethnology. Several of her responsibilities continued to the new position, including curatorial activities and development of policies and procedures. New responsibilities included: teaching the course "Museum Principles and Methods" in Anthropology as well as occasional courses in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the maintenance of collections documentation, maintenance and development of museum archives, managing public access to archives and supervising archival workers, appraising artifacts where required for accessioning or income tax receipts, maintaining financial records on the collections curating and coordinating exhibits, as well as taking on curatorial initiatives to develop and promote the East Asian collections in specific and the world-wide textile collection in general. In 1988, the responsibility for the MOA Archives was transferred to Johnson from Audrey Shane. Subsequently, in 1999 responsibility for the archives was transferred to the newly hired museum archivist.

Johnson’s work however was not restricted to the tasks required by her various positions at the museum. Johnson has also published works suitable for academic, museum and public audiences. These publications include exhibit catalogues, articles and book reviews. She has been active in community and professional associations, including: the Canadian Museums Association; the British Columbia Museums Association; the Royal Asiatic Society, Hong Kong Branch; the Association for Asian Studies; the Archives Association of British Columbia; the Textile Society of Hong Kong; and the Canadian Asian Studies Association. She has regularly attended and participated in conferences, where she has presented papers on such diverse topics as Chinese ethnology, textile conservation, museum studies, archives, the development of curatorial partnerships, visible storage, textiles, repatriation, and Cantonese opera. Apart from her involvement with conferences Johnson has also been an active participant in the academic and museum communities at an international level. Beginning in 1998, she was a grant application assessor for the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong. In the same year she also took on work as an external examiner for the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as well as taking on a position as an advisor to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Johnson was also highly involved in the local Vancouver community. From 1983 to 1995 she was a member of the Chinatown Historic Area Planning Committee in Vancouver. Beginning in 1998, she was also a member of the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives Committee. In the fall of 2006 Johnson officially retired, though she continues to maintain her relationship with the Museum of Anthropology in a research capacity.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The records in this fonds were created and received in the course of Elizabeth Johnson’s tenure at the Museum of Anthropology. The records relate to activities Johnson was involved in through her various positions at the Museum, including: involvement with exhibitions, collections, the museums relations with the community and various community events sponsored by the museum, teaching and various administrative activities. The fonds consists of agendas, agreements, articles, artifact lists, attendance figures, biographies, books, business cards, budgets, calendar of events, catalogue drafts, comment books, conference schedule, consent forms, contract lists, correspondence, course descriptions, curators statement, declaration, diagram, drawings, evaluations, exhibit labels, expenses, internal forms (exhibit proposal forms), financial records, flyers, final reports, guidelines, grant applications, invitations, lecture notes, memoranda, minutes of meetings, museum exhibit diagrams, notes, permission forms, photographs, photograph labels, posters, plans, policies, press releases, proposals, publications (books), publicity records, receipts, reports, reproductions of newspaper ads and articles, research notes, revisions, schedules, slide list, slides, speaking notes, student papers, surveys, syllabi, teaching notes, transcripts of research interviews, audio cassettes of interviews, translations, visitor surveys and comments, and videos.

The fonds is arranged in the following series:

  1. Proposed Exhibits
  2. Exhibits
  3. Collections
  4. Special projects and events series
  5. Correspondence series
  6. Museum education series
  7. Administrative series
  8. Academic materials

See attached pdf document for description of series and file lists.

Notes area

Physical condition

Textual records include newspaper, and facsimiles printed on thermal paper; several are fading. Textual records also include annotations and summaries written on "Post-It Notes". Some photographic materials are mounted on cardstock and are in contact with other record mediums.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records have been transferred from Dr. Elizabeth Johnson in a series of accessions to the MOA Archives. The first accession, AC# 2000-01 occurred in, January of 2000. In December 2001, AC#2001-42 was transferred, and followed by AC#2004-5 in September of 2004. In June 2006, AC#2006-13 was transferred, in April 2007 AC# 2007-17 was transferred and, finally, in June 2008 AC# 2008-09 was transferred to the archives. In July 2013, AC# 2013-07 was processed but was previously transferred to the archives in 2006. In 2018, AC# 2018-19 was transferred to the archives and processed in January 2020.


The textual records and some graphic material are in original order.
All files are in original order. Other than Subseries M: Unity Quilt Exhibit Records, which is in box 3 and amongst the records for Subseries L: "A Rare Flower", all the subseries are filed consecutively

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script note

The records are predominantly in English, and include material in French, Spanish, written Chinese and an anglicized writing of Cantonese.

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Records subject to the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Copyright Act and other applicable legislation. Consult the archivist for details

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright for records and articles produced by Elizabeth Johnson in her capacity as curator is held by the Museum. The Museum of Anthropology does not hold copyright for unpublished articles and student's papers.

Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

Related materials


Further accruals are possible.

General note

The contents of Elizabeth Johnson’s CV file are located in her case file. The file was originally part of the AC#2004-5 accession.


Most photographic materials have been rehoused in archival quality photographic sleeves. Most thermal paper records and “Post-It Notes” have been photocopied and placed with the original records. The “Post-It Notes” were removed after photocopying. Most newspapers have been photocopied to replace the original records.

Alternative identifier(s)

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Kim Lawson, March 2000


  • February 2003 by Jen Smith
  • February 2005 by Marilyn Ramen
  • December 2006 by Nadine Hafner / AC# 2006-13
  • March 2007 by Nadine Hafner / AC# 2007-05
  • March 2007 by Nadine Hafner / AC# 2007-13
  • June 2007 by Shane McCord / AC# 2007-17
  • March 2011 by Sarah Rathjen
  • January 2012 by Alyssa Gallant / AC# 2008-09
  • February 2012 by Alyssa Gallant
  • April 2012 by Alyssa Gallant / AC# 2012-09
  • March 2013 by Laura Mason / AC# 2013-04
  • July 2013 by Lisa Uyeda / AC# 2013-07
  • May 2016, January 2017, and February 2017 by Katie Ferrante
  • January 2019 by Isabel Melendez
  • May 2019 by Stuart Hill
  • January 2020 by Petra Warren / AC# 2018-19

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physical storage

  • Box: Oversized 28