The Object’s the Thing

R. Yorke Edwards; edited by Robert A. Cannings & Richard Kool, with a foreword by Bob Peart

(1 customer review)


“To glimpse this diversity is to feel some of the meaning of being Canadian.”—R. Yorke Edwards

R. Yorke Edwards was a pioneer in the field of heritage interpretation in Canada. First with BC Parks and then with the Canadian Wildlife Service, throughout the 1960s Edwards developed an approach to the interpretation of natural and cultural history with a focus on the “real thing”—the object, the place, the process, the person—in front of a visitor.

Almost everyone who has visited a Canadian park or museum has been touched by Edwards’s legacy—but few know his name. Through essays and photographs, a biography and sections from Edwards’s unpublished notebook, The Object’s the Thing introduces “the father of nature interpretation in Canada,” whose work still affects how we experience our heritage today.

May 2021, paperback, 336 pages

ISBN 9780772678515

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“Have you ever been in a nature house in B.C. or across Canada? Have you gone to the Royal B.C. Museum? Have you gone to an interpretive program in a provincial park? Or sent your children to one? Answer yes to any of these and you have been touched by Yorke Edwards in some way. What is astounding is that the name Yorke Edwards is not known to all for the pioneering work that he tackled with verve and passion in the fields of wildlife biology, conservation, nature education, museum life and the interpretation of these subjects. Rick Kool and Rob Cannings set out to change that and to celebrate the work of Yorke Edwards. Both of the authors have played noteworthy roles themselves in the world of nature education and museum studies, so fully appreciate the significance of Yorke’s vision and were directly touched by his ideas and passion for heritage interpretation.”
—Leah Ramsay, the Victoria Naturalist

“Yorke Edwards’ legacy runs deep in Canadian scientific and historical interpretation, especially in his adoptive province . . . It is remarkable how many of his ideas have come to fruition, . . . and Edwards’ writings reveal other tantalizing ideas, decades ahead of their time, that we can only wish he had explored further.”
—Forrest Pass, in the Ormsby Review

1 review for The Object’s the Thing

  1. David Gray

    This fascinating compilation of practical wisdom on the interpretation of natural and cultural history should be in the library of anyone who works in the field of Canadian Heritage: in parks, historic sites and museums.

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