Royal BC Museum publishes new book by its CEO

September 20, 2019

VICTORIA, BC–Today, the Royal BC Museum’s publication division announced that its latest book, Great Expectations: Reflections on museums and Canada, by Royal BC Museum CEO Prof. Jack Lohman CBE, is available for purchase.

Great Expectations, a series of brief essays, articulates how and why Lohman has implemented a score of big-picture ideas at the Royal BC Museum in the last seven years. These significant initiatives range from the museum’s recent activity in repatriation to its inclusion of diverse voices in gallery displays.

“My central belief is that museums shape our perceptions of history, nature and society, and expand our understanding of diversity,” writes Prof. Lohman in the book’s preface. “They do not simply mirror society but form positive experiences, negotiating all the cultural thresholds that are in play: societal change, Indigenization, globalization, migration and loss of biodiversity, among others.”

Lohman’s book also proposes concepts, such as Canada becoming a “safe haven” for cultural artifacts imperilled around the world.  This idea may not yet have materialized in Royal BC Museum displays and collections, but is seeded into museum thinking nationally and informs the specific culture of the Royal BC Museum.

In fact, an attempt to describe, question and support the idea of “culture” is at the root of much of this book.

Despite its focus on ideas, Great Expectations is neither abstract nor emotionally detached, but salted with specific examples of museum successes (and failures), enlivened by Canadian literature that has inspired Lohman, and underscored by his sense of responsibility and optimism.

As the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada, notes in the book’s foreword, Lohman “asks why museums can’t bring about tears, laughter, skepticism and disbelief.”

The 172-page book, retailing for $14.95, is available through local bookshops, the Royal Museum Shop and online at


About the Royal BC Museum

The Royal BC Museum explores the province’s human history and natural history, advances new knowledge and understanding of BC, and provides a dynamic forum for discussion and a place for reflection. The museum and archives celebrate culture and history, telling the stories of BC in ways that enlighten, stimulate and inspire. Located in Victoria on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen (Songhees and Xwsepsum Nations), we are a hub of community connections in BC–onsite, offsite and online–taking pride in our collective histories.


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Erik Lambertson
Corporate Communications Manager

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