In Memoriam – Bill McLennan, UBC Museum of Anthropology

1948 – 2020

We are very much saddened by the recent loss of Bill McLennan, Curator Emeritus of UBC’s Museum of Anthropology.

Born in Vancouver, William (Bill) McLennan received his Arts and Merchandising degree from Vancouver City College and subsequently worked in exhibit and graphic design for the City of Vancouver, the MacMillan Planetarium, and Vancouver Centennial Museum. Bill began to work at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) in 1975 and became a permanent staff member in 1976.

Curating exhibitions commenced in 1993 with his first exhibition ‘The Transforming Image’ after he discovered that infrared film would reveal imagery of ancient, authentic Northwest coast paintings which had almost disappeared due to the aging process.

He garnered several awards for his multiple contributions and books from 1979 though 2001.

In 2010, McLennan curated the historic works of Charles and Isabella Edenshaw in an exhibition entitled ‘Signed Without Signature: Works by Charles and Isabella Edenshaw’.

On October 31, 2013, McLennan retired from MOA.

At Coastal Peoples Gallery, we were honoured and privileged to know and work with Bill, especially on Lyle Wilson’s solo show Haislakala in 2016 in which he wrote a foreward in the exhibition catalogue as well as MOA Curator Karen Duffek.

Bill will be missed by us all.


Image courtesy of CBC News – Bill is holding a spoon carved by Haida artist Bill Reid