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Friends of the Whyte: Whyte Museum Summer 2023 Interpreter Kiera Bandy

Updated: Feb 2

Friends of the Whyte is a series celebrating community, featuring Whyte Museum members, donors, staff, and friends, to get to know them a little bit better.

During the summer of 2023, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies had a team of five interpreters sharing the history of Banff, engaging with visitors and sharing what the Whyte Museum has to offer. Kiera Bandy was one of the Interpreters, a student from the University of Victoria here for the summer. In this Q&A, we learn more about Kiera's experience as an Interpreter.

Kiera Bandy, Summer Interpreter at the Whyte Museum in 2023.
Kiera Bandy, Summer Interpreter at the Whyte Museum in 2023.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? If a student, what are you studying? Why did you apply for a position at the Whyte Museum?

I'm a University of Victoria student studying philosophy and gender studies. I applied to the interpreter position at the Whyte Museum because I felt as though my curiosity and passion for education meant I'd be able to contribute to the team in a meaningful way.

2. What new skills, techniques, or knowledge did you gain this summer?

I gained knowledge gathering and retention skills, an understanding of office and museum function and dynamics, and a stronger connection to human and natural history. Memorizing tours and taking on a constant reading load has given me experience that will allow me to function at a higher level in future roles and in life. Heading into an office workspace, I was nervous about standards and practices that I felt like I was guessing at - this role has given me a new comfort in more formal settings. Most importantly, I've grown to feel much more connected to humans that have come before me and to my own environment.

3. What was a time that you felt proud during your time as an Interpreter?

One time that I felt proud during my employment was after a Heritage Homes tour. It wasn't anything too special or out of the ordinary, but the pride and sense of warmth has not left me. A family of three had come on the torus with me - parents and an adult child. They were the most engaged visitors that I've had to date. I cannot emphasize that enough. Incredibly curious and intelligent people, respectful too. I felt as though I'd fielded their questions well throughout the tour, and we'd all enjoyed talking about similar points of interest. At the end, I had some office time scheduled and decided to continue chatting with them on the way back. We paused and expressed interest in each other's lives. They spoke about enjoying the tour, appreciating how much information I was able to retain, I thanked them for being so amazing. More from what they said, I could feel a deep sense of connection with this family; it felt like we knew each other. I was very proud of ability to keep such a wonderful and curious family engaged, and felt an incredible amount of warmth extended to me in that moment. I'm so so grateful for that experience.

4. If you could have dinner with one historical Banff figure, who would it be? Why? What would you want to ask/know?

I would have dinner with Mary Vaux. I loved learning about how her family ended up being connected to the mountains (and glaciers specifically). Her level of engagement with not only the outdoors, but with scientific study, the tension between art and science, Quaker values, photography, and public education paint a picture of an incredibly thoughtful and caring person. I would want to hear her thoughts on aesthetic values in nature, the tourism industry, religion and study, and individual contribution to the greater good.

Thanks, Kiera, for your time with the Whyte Museum!


Want to learn more about Canadian Rockies history? Discover our private and public tours available at the Whyte Museum.

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