Dr. Martha Black

Curator of Ethnology

Curator of Ethnology at the Royal BC Museum since 1997, Martha Black has a PhD in art history from the University of Victoria (1998) and an MA in interdisciplinary studies from York University, Toronto (1988), both focused on Heiltsuk art and museum collections. Before coming to the Royal BC Museum, she was curator and associate director of the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto.

Martha has worked on many successful collaborative projects with First Nations and is a specialist in the theory and practice of repatriation within and outside of the treaty negotiation process.

She has curated a number of exhibitions at the Royal BC Museum, including Nłuut’iksa Łagigyedm Ts’msyeen: Treasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection (2007), Huupukwanum · Tupaat: Out of the Mist, Treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs (1999), Nisga’a: People of the Nass River (2001) and Argillite: A Haida Art (2001), and was co-curator of the Royal Ontario Museum’s travelling exhibition, Kaxlaya Gvilas: “the ones who uphold the laws of our ancestors” (2000). Her publications include two books: HuupuKwanum• Tupaat: Out of the Mist, Treasures of the Nuu-chah-nulth Chiefs and Bella Bella: A Season of Heiltsuk Art.

Martha has developed and taught courses on First Nations art and museum studies, and lectured at universities, colleges and museums in Canada and abroad.


PhD, Art History, University of Victoria (1998)

MA, Interdisciplinary Studies, York University, Toronto (1988)

Areas of Interest

Specialty: BC First Nations arts and cultures

Areas of Expertise: Northwest Coast arts and material cultures

Museum collections and collectors

Repatriation and transfer of First Nations artifacts

Contact Dr. Martha Black

Email: mblack@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

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