Garth Stewart Wilson, MA’84

After a long battle with cancer, Garth passed away in Ottawa on November 13, 2010, at the age of 50 with his beloved wife, Sandy Lynch, by his side. Born in Kamloops in 1960, Garth obtained his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Victoria in 1982 before going on to UBC to pursue postgraduate studies in this discipline. After completing his master’s at UBC in 1984, Garth spent two years in Denmark studying his specialty, Viking seafaring, in preparation for a PhD. Although the proposed doctorate never materialized, he acquired the experience and training that enabled him to pursue what was later to become his life’s work in museums.

In 1989, Garth was hired by the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa as the curator of marine transportation. By 2003, he was responsible for all forms of transportation at the museum – a position he held until his death. Garth oversaw the creation of several exhibits and was active in increasing the museum’s collection of relevant transportation artifacts. As the result of his efforts, the collection grew to include more examples of working vehicles, Canadian content and critical infrastructure.

During his career, Garth published a large number of both popular and professional articles and monographs about the history  of transportation. Many of them appeared in Material History Review, a scholarly journal originally published by the museum and the journal in which he served as the English  Review Editor from 1991-2006.

Garth was also active in a number of  professional organizations, including, The Canadian Nautical Research Society, The Museum Small Craft Association, The Atlantic Challenge Canada Foundation, The Adirondack Museum, and most recently, T2M – The International Association for the History  of Transport, Traffic and Mobility.

Comment

One comment

  1. Russell Brown says:

    In 1983-84, I was a first-year student in Garth’s History 120 tutorial group. He was a rigourous, demanding but kind TA. I include Garth among those academics who helped me along the way by, in his case, showing me how to take all the gunk I had uncovered in my research and formulate a cogent thesis from it. He made me a better writer, and for that I am grateful. I am sorry to hear that his life was not a long one, and I offer deep condolences to Ms. Lynch and to the rest of Garth’s family.

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