Fonds 118 - Marjorie Halpin (MOA Curator) fonds

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Marjorie Halpin (MOA Curator) fonds

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on content of fonds.

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Physical description

2.16 meters of textual records
ca. 3300 photographs : prints, negatives, and slides
36 cassette tapes
1 audio reel
7 videotapes
3 compact disks
1 computer disk
9 posters
3 maps

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Name of creator

(1937 - 2000)

Biographical history

Marjorie Myers Halpin was born on February 11, 1937 in Tampa, Florida. She received both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Anthropology from George Washington University in 1962 and 1965 respectively. Between 1963 and 1968, Halpin was employed as a docent and an instructor in anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. During this time, she was also a part-time lecturer at George Washington University. Halpin’s involvement as teacher and scholar at the University of British Columbia began in 1968 when she was hired as a sessional lecturer in the Anthropology Department. Her duties evolved to include part-time curating at the Museum of Anthropology at U.B.C. She received her Ph.D. from U.B.C. in 1973 and was hired for the position of Assistant Professor and Curator in the same year. Halpin was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor and Curator at U.B.C. in 1981 and remained in this position until the time of her death in 2000. She was also Acting Director of the Museum from 1983 to 1984.

As a professor in U.B.C.’s Anthropology Department, Halpin taught both lower and higher level anthropology courses. She also supervised the work of many Master’s and Ph.D.-level students and served as Chair and University Examiner for numerous Ph.D. students. As part of U.B.C.’s faculty, Halpin served on various committees including the Department Equity Committee, the Graduate Studies Committee and Green College’s Membership Committee. As scholar and writer, Halpin’s main interests were in Coast Tsimshian and Gitksan ethnology, museum anthropology, and the anthropology of art and ritual, which led her to produce many articles and essays on native art and culture. In addition, Halpin also gave presentations and public lectures at national and international conferences. She wrote two books, Totem Poles: An Illustrated Guide and Jack Shadbolt and the Coastal Indian Image, both of which were published as part of the Museum of Anthropology’s Museum Note Series. Halpin also edited and reviewed many publications within the anthropological field and contributed chapters to Canadian Encyclopedia, The Handbook of North American Indians and Consciousness and Inquiry, among many other publications. Her scholarly interests have also led to her involvement with electronic publications on Northwest Coast art, namely with CD-Roms and websites.

Halpin was an active member of numerous societies such as the Canadian Ethnology Society, the Canadian Museums Association and the Native Studies Art Association of Canada. She was also a member of the Tri-Council (MRC, SSHRC, NRC) Committee on Collections Documentation (2000), Chair of the Totem Pole Advisory Committee for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (1983-84) and Chair of the Committee on Museum Ethics for the Canadian Ethnology Society (1974-75). In addition to her duties as teacher, scholar and anthropologist, Halpin also took on the role of consultant for numerous private projects. Marjorie Halpin passed away in White Rock in 2000.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records created by Marjorie Halpin as Curator of Ethnology at the Museum of Anthropology with some records relating to her activities as professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. The records include correspondence, reports, memos, handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, published and unpublished papers, grant application forms, loan permission forms, financial statements, course outlines and bibliographies, curator’s meeting papers, photographs, negatives and slides.

The fonds has been organized into the following series:

  1. Exhibition Files (1928-1999, predominant 1973-1999)
  2. Administration Files (1966-2000)
  3. Museum of Anthropology Projects (1928-2000, predominant 1971-2000)
  4. Museum of Anthropology Events (1976-1999)
  5. Published and Unpublished Papers and Reviews (1971-1998)
  6. Conferences and Meetings (1973-1987)
  7. Teaching and Student Files (1968-1997)
  8. Miscellaneous (1971-1998)

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Physical condition

A number of records included in the fonds require further conservation in order to ensure their long-term preservation. Textual records that require attention have been identified and include newspaper clippings, correspondence on acidic typewriter paper, typewritten correspondence on thin tissue paper, and facsimiles on thermal paper (which have already begun to fade). In addition, there are tape adhered photographs that have started to degrade, discoloured prints, and negatives suffering from silver migration.

Immediate source of acquisition

Records were removed from Marjorie Halpin’s office by the
archivist and other records were donated by Halpin’s daughter, Lisa Lavallee.


When the records were removed from Marjorie Halpin’s office, they were boxed in a manner that emulated the creator’s original order. A box list was developed that includes the original location of the records in Halpin’s office and a universal file list was created by the archivist so that if required, the original order of Halpin’s records now divided into Private and MOA curator records can be recreated.

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mp3 file

Restrictions on access

All records in the fonds are subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

The Museum of Anthropology holds copyright for records and articles produced by Marjorie Halpin as Curator of Ethnology. The Museum does not hold copyright for unpublished articles, student papers and papers of individuals not employed by the Museum of Anthropology that may be included in the Marjorie Halpin fonds.

Finding aids

Associated materials

For other records created by Marjorie Halpin, consult the Marjorie M. Halpin fonds (private records).

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No further accruals expected.

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Anthea Seles, Linda Norbrega - Winter 2001 - Spring 2002
Lisa Beitel - Summer 2002
Updated by Nadine Hafner on February 5, 2007 (ac# 2001-39)
Updated by Nadine Hafner on March 16, 2007 (ac# 2007-11)
Created in AtoM on December 9, 2015
Updated by Petra Warren on March 2020

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