CARSTAIRS - Tamara Moore is making the most of a detour in her education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A 27-year-old native of Creston, Bristish Columbia, Moore is the new interim curator/manager at the Carstairs Heritage Centre museum.
She worked at the museum this summer as a museum assistant and was scheduled to start classes in London, England this fall — until COVID indirectly got in the way.
Moore is currently in the midst of a long archaeology-based education journey.
“I did one year of my undergraduate degree in England in 2013-2014 and then I finished that up at Simon Fraser University,” Moore said.
“I then did my master's degree at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario and I’ve been accepted to the University College London in their PhD program in archaeology.”
That long journey has now been temporarily sidetracked by COVID.
“I was supposed to go (to London) this fall, in October,” she said. “There was some ability to go over there, but it’s just too hectic, so I decided to defer and go next year.”
“I had the summer job as a museum assistant and now it’s turned into the interim manager job,” she said, noting she is on a six-month contact at the Carstairs facility.
Her mother lives in Olds, so she is staying with her right now.
Asked if she was disappointed that she couldn’t be in class in England this fall, she said, “Yes and no. Yes, I’m definitely disappointed that I’m not in London. It’s a very good school. And no, it’s nice to be here where COVID is a little calmer.”
While in Canada she plans to do background research in her field, which is ancient Maya. She has made two trips to Belize as part of her studies, both times for field schools.
As well, her masters research was in Belize at the historic site of Ka’kabish.
“It’s a several-thousand-year-old site that was occupied from about 500 BC up until the colonial period (about 1425 AD),” she said.
Working at the Carstairs museum over the coming months will be educational in its own way, she said.
“This is more going for experience in the museum sector,” she said. “It is one option for me going forward for a full-time career, as well as getting really good experience in local museums and museum management.”
So far people in Carstairs have been helpful and often ask her about archaeology when they find out it is her specialty, she said.
“It’s not necessarily the best circumstance leading up to everything, but it is still a good opportunity for me,” she said.
The University College London is one of Britain's top research universities, with notable alumni including Mahatma Gandhi and Alexander Graham Bell.