Miriam Lisa Clavir is a former museum conservator and author of Preserving What is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations (UBC Press, 2002) as well as many conservation articles that have appeared in professional journals and edited volumes. She became the conservator at MOA, the UBC Museum of Anthropology, in 1980, and since 2004 has continued her close association with the museum as a Research Fellow.

Clavir also writes character-driven mystery novels. Her protagonist, Berry Cates, is a professional art and artifacts conservator. Insinuendo: Murder in the Museum (Bayeux Arts 2012), the first in a projected series, is a story of intrigue in the world of art and artifacts, told with humour, and set in UBC's Museum of Anthropology. Serious themes are explored as well: the experience of work and being an employee, and the effects of growing older, and growing up, on one's actions, body, and beliefs, including in what is right.

In her second novel, Fate Accompli: Murder in Quebec City (2018), in which Berry Cates is conserving the finds on an archaeological dig, Miriam Clavir was inspired by the people, history, streets and neighborhoods of Quebec City where Clavir had lived prior to moving to Vancouver in 1980. Wanting to capture the look of the buildings, the atmosphere in the cafés and the Québécois character of the city, Clavir found her story, written as a murder mystery, from the inscription on the Golden Dog stone carving in the Old City: "I will bite him who has bitten me."

"In Fate Accompli I wanted to write about the kind of people a reader might easily know or meet," she says, "because that's what intrigues me-- as distinct from a lone psychopath, for example. The killer and a murder have to fit into what would otherwise be normal life. I also wrote Fate Accompli to try and paint a could-be story that resonates with a particular real place. Quebec City itself could be said to be built on stories, its history interpreted by whichever party is doing the telling. And these stories are about a range from joie de vivre to conquest and death."

Miriam Clavir and her husband, the poet John Donlan, divide their time between Vancouver and rural Ontario.




2003 Award for Excellence, Canadian Museums Association, for Preserving What is Valued: Museums, Conservation and First Nations, UBC Press, 2002


2009 "Conservation and Cultural Significance";, Principles of Conservation, (Eds. A. Richmond and A. Bracker) Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, London, pp.139-149

Chapters (Reprinted Articles)
2011 "Preserving Conceptual Integrity: Ethics and Theory in Preventive Conservation", Changing Views of Textile Conservation (Eds. M.M. Brooks and D.D. Easthop), The Getty Conservation Institute, L.A., pp. 627 -631
2011 "Preserving Conceptual Integrity: Ethics and Theory in Preventive Conservation", Preventive Conservation in Museums (Ed. C. Caple) Leicester Readers in Museum Studies, Routledge, London, pp. 435 - 444

2009 "Social Contexts for Conservation: Time, Distance, and Voice in Museums and Galleries";, Journal, Canadian Association for Conservation, Vol. 34, Ottawa, pp. 3 -9
2008 "Conservation, Protocols, and Praxis";, Postprints, Symposium 2007, Preserving Aboriginal Heritage: Technical and Traditional Approaches, Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa, pp.27-34
2003 "Heritage Preservation: Museum Conservation and First Nations Perspectives";, Ethnologies (Quebec/St-Johns), Special issue on Ethnographic Museums. pp. 33-45
2001 "The Future of Ethnographic Conservation: A Canadian Perspective";, Past Practice -Future Prospects, The British Museum Occasional Paper Number 145, Oddy, A. and S. Smith (Eds.), The British Museum, London, pp. 57-60.
1999 "Museum Changes to First Nations Objects, and their Physical and Conceptual Reversibility", Reversibility: Does it Exist?, 135,in: Oddy, A., and S. Carroll (Eds.), British Museum Occasional Paper Number, The British Museum, London, pp.169-172
1998 "The Social and Historic Construction of Professional Values in Conservation";, Studies in Conservation Vol.43, #1, 1998, pp.1-8.
1996 "Reflections on Changes in Museums and the Conservation of Collections from Indigenous Peoples";, Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, Summer. Vol.35, pp.99-107.
1995 "Conservation and the Current Museum Context";, New Zealand Museums Journal, Vol. 25, pp.35-38.
1995 "Caring for your Collection";, Native Peoples Magazine, Vol.9, #1, Fall/Winter, pp.18-20.
1995 “Conservation de l’art sacré”, Cahier d’Etudes du Comité international de Conservation: Enjeux et problèmes de conservation-restoration, ICOM, June (short article and panel editor) reprinted in:
1995 Heikell, V., Whiting, D., Clavir, M., Odegaard, N., Kaminitz, M., and Moses, J., "The Conservator's Approach to Sacred Art";, Western Association for Art Conservation (WAAC) Newsletter, Vol.17, #3, Sept, pp.15-18.
1994 "The Conceptual Integrity of Conservation in Museums" (edited version of Per Guldbeck Memorial Lecture, llC-CG) MUSE Vol. XII, No.3, Fall/Nov 1994, pp.30-34 (Version en français, pp.35-39).
1994 "Preserving Conceptual Integrity: Ethics and Theory in Preventive Conservation", Preprints, IIC Congress, Preventive Conservation: Practice, Theory and Research, Sept 12-16.pp. 53-57
1993 "When the Public Asks, How Well-Equipped Are We to Answer" reprinted in "Currently", Ontario Museum News, Vol.16, #1, Feb/Mar, Ontario Museums Association.
"The Conceptual Integrity of Conservation in Museums", Per Guldbeck Memorial Lecture, Halifax, May 29, reprinted in Bulletin, IIC-CG, Sept. pp.1-12
1993 "An Examination of the Conservation Codes of Ethics in Relation to Collections from First Peoples," in Spirydowicz, K. (ed.) First People's Art and Artifacts: Heritage and Conservation Issues, Art Conservation Program, Queen's University, pp.1-9
1992 "Multicultural Participation in Conservation Decision-Making", panel, Western Area Art Conservators Newsletter, Vol.14, #1, pp13-22


Preserving what is Valued: Museums, Conservation, and First Nations. Vancouver, UBC Press, 2002.

Insinuendo: Murder in the Museum (Bayeux Arts 2012)

Fate Accompli: Murder in Quebec City (Bayeux Arts 2018) 978-1-988440-19-4. $19.95

[UBC 2018] "First Nations" "Indianology"