View of eight side-by-side display cases containing a sampling of artifacts and specimens from the Museum Collections.

Collections & Conservation Team

At the core of the Manitoba Museum’s mission is the extensive collection of artifacts and specimens developed, documented, and cared for by a team of curators, collections staff, and conservators.

Meet the team

Dr. Brigit Tronrud

Collections Management Specialist – Natural History

Dr. Brigit Tronrud earned her D.Phil in Earth Sciences from the University of Oxford (2022) specializing in paleontology and zoology, following her B.Sc. from the University of Chicago (2017). Her doctoral research focussed on living and fossil birds and the relationship between avian foot function and shape. She has worked and volunteered at natural history museums in Canada (Royal BC Museum), Norway (Oslo Naturhistorisk Museum), and the UK (Oxford University Museum of Natural History), which contributed to her wide range of collections experience. At the Manitoba Museum, Brigit is responsible for the management of all collections within Natural History, including specimen preparation, storage, documentation, conservation, and access.

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Aro van Dyck

Collections Technician – Natural History

Aro van Dyck earned her B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba, majoring in Biological Sciences and minoring in Entomology. She has also researched the diversity of wasps and bees Winnipeg’s greenspaces. As the Collections Technician for Natural History, she catalogues and cares for the conservation of plant, animal, and fossil specimens. When Aro is away from the Museum, she can be usually be found out looking for bugs.

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Cortney Pachet

Collections Technician – Human History

Cortney Pachet started working at the Manitoba Museum in 2001 as a tour guide while earning her a BA (Honours) from the University of Winnipeg. She quickly realized that she wanted a career in museums and pursued a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Cortney’s role as a collections technician involves documenting and researching artifacts in the Human History collections, as well as administering the museum’s collections management system.

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Carolyn Sirett

Senior Conservator

Carolyn Sirett received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, Diploma in Cultural Resource Management from the University of Victoria, and Diploma in Collections Conservation and Management from Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario. Working at the Manitoba Museum since 2013, Carolyn’s role as the Senior Conservator is to ensure the long-term preservation of the Museum’s large and diverse collection of artifacts and specimens, and world-class dioramas through preventive maintenance techniques, remedial treatments, and exhibit development.

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Nancy Anderson

Collections Management Specialist – Human History

Nancy Anderson holds a B.A. (Hons) in History from the University of Winnipeg, and received her M.A. in Canadian Social History jointly from the University of Winnipeg and University of Manitoba. She has over 30 years experience in museums in Manitoba and has worked at the Manitoba Museum since 2005. Nancy’s role includes all aspects of collections management within Human History. She also has responsibility for the library and archives collections and handles intellectual property requests. She has served as President of the Association of Manitoba Museums (AMM), and is currently an instructor for the AMM courses on Collections Management, Deaccessioning, and Education and Public Programming.

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Manitobans depend on healthy ecosystems for oxygen, flood control, food production, water purification, carbon storage, and economic and recreational activities, like forestry and tourism. Healthy ecosystems contain a diverse mixture of thousands of plant and fungal species. But, due to overexploitation, climate change, exotic species introductions, and pollution, our ecosystems are changing, and some species are becoming endangered.

To protect ecosystems, we need to know how they are put together, and how environmental changes may impact them. The purpose of the Museum’s botanical research is to better understand the composition, structure, and resiliency of plant and fungal communities, and how they interact with animals and microorganisms. Past research projects include the pollination ecology of prairie plants, fire ecology in the boreal forest, and the distribution of poorly known plant groups such as Bugseeds (Corispermum) and Water-lilies (Nymphaea). The abundance, distribution, and ecology of nationally rare plants, including Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides), Small White Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium candidum), Smooth Goosefoot (Chenopodium subglabrum), Western Prairie Fringed Orchid (Platanthera praeclara), and Western Silvery Aster (Symphyotrichum sericeum), has also been a major focus.   

The botany collection at the Manitoba Museum contains over 50,000 preserved plant (i.e. ferns, mosses, flowers, trees, shrubs, etc.) and fungal specimens (i.e. mushrooms and lichens), representing over a third of all species in these groups in Manitoba. The collection includes over 2,200 specimens of wood obtained from all over the world, one of the largest collections of its kind in Canada. The Museum also houses about 15,000 specimens from the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment herbarium in Pinawa, which closed in 1988. Scientists use the Manitoba Museum’s extensive collection of plants and fungi to understand how the province has changed over time, and how we can protect vulnerable species and ecosystems from extinction.

Pictures of plants and ferns with a hand written scripted description below each image.

Old herbarium specimens, such as these ones from Labrador collected in 1876 by Mrs. (Elizabeth) Crawford, help scientists understand how the environment and climate have changed over time. Image © Manitoba Museum

Open cabinet containing shelves with boxes of three-dimensional botanical specimens, including various species of cones, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

The botanical collection at the Manitoba Museum includes three-dimensional specimens of cones, fruits, fungi, lichens, mosses, nuts, seeds and wood from all around the world. Image © Manitoba Museum

Woman kneeling in a wild prairie and closely examining yellow flowers for pollinating insects.

Curator of Botany, Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson conducts field research on wild plants and their pollinators at many prairie preserves, including Birds Hill Provincial Park. Image © Manitoba Museum

Close up image of a many-petalled, white and yellow water-lily.

The Museum’s Curator of Botany, Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson helped to document the existence of the new Canadian endemic species, Lori’s Water-lily (Nymphaea loriana). Image © Manitoba Museum

Woman standing in a mixedwood forest surrounded by waist-high ferns.

Curator of Botany, Dr. Diana Bizecki Robson, searches for and studies rare plants all over Manitoba, including Grand Beach Provincial Park. Image © Manitoba Museum

A bumblebee on a small light blue-purple flower.

Prairie Pollination

Get to Know your Wild Neighbours!

Two-thirds of our crop species worldwide depend on wild pollinators to some degree. Those pollinators need more than just crop plants to survive – they need wild plants too! Staff at the Manitoba Museum have been quietly studying pollinators for over a decade.

Learn more about the Prairie Pollination virtual exhibit
Dr. Diana Bizecki-Robson

Dr. Diana Bizecki-Robson

Curator of Botany

Dr. Bizecki-Robson obtained a Master’s Degree in Plant Ecology at the University of Saskatchewan studying rare plants of the mixed grass prairies. After working as an environmental consultant and sessional lecturer…
Meet Dr. Bizecki-Robson