Remembering Paul Robertson, a Message from Members

With great sadness, we learned that our colleague and long-time KAM member and supporter, Paul Robertson passed away on June 7th, 2022. 

“For those of you who were not well acquainted with Paul, he was instrumental in helping KAM to transition to a non-profit organization and shaped the development of the City of Kingston Heritage Fund, amongst many other good works within the cultural heritage sector at both the local and provincial levels.  He was knowledgeable and kind, and a wonderful mentor to many working within cultural heritage.  This unexpected loss is difficult, and we will miss him.” 

Jamie McKenzie-Naish, KAM Managing Director (07 June)

“We at the Kingston Area Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Paul Robertson. Despite his illness, he continued to contribute to our conversations virtually, always with his usual words of wisdom gained from his more than 30 years of experience in the field of arts, culture and heritage nationally, provincially and locally.   Paul was always a positive force, with a unique sense of style and good humour that drew people to him.  We welcomed him when he came to Kingston in 2004 to assume the position of Curator at the Museum of Healthcare and were proud of him when he became the first “City Curator” for the City of Kingston in 2011. He continued to excel, seeking ways to contribute more.  Eventually, he worked his way up the ranks of the Ontario Museums Association to become it’s President in 2019. Again, we cheered! Paul constantly kept an eye on the changing society of Ontario and the world. During these difficult years of pandemic, he navigated the way for our provincial and local museums on our course toward diversity and inclusion. Paul will be sorely missed, but his light will continue to shine.”

Dave St. Onge, Historian, Corrections Canada / Canada’s Penitentiary Museum, former KAM Board Member, President and Past President (08 June)

“When few of Kingston’s self-proclaimed movers and shakers in its cultural sector took the Kingston Association of Museums, Galleries and Historic Sites (KAM) seriously, the late Paul Robertson recognized its potential, and worked tirelessly as an advocate. 

Paul became an engaged KAM member from his early participation as a representative of the Museum of Health Care, exemplifying KAM’s collegiality and supporting its collaborative initiatives. In his subsequent role as a senior member of the City of Kingston’s Cultural Services Department, Paul continued to fight KAM’s corner, advocating for and fostering the development of the City of Kingston’s Heritage Fund, and ensuring that KAM played a leadership role.

I suspect that KAM’s growing status as a key museum network in the Ontario Museum Association’s firmament brought him a lot of joy. Paul put the ‘community’ in community museums. He will be missed.”

Ann Blake, Retired, KAM Managing Director / President, Beyond Classrooms Kingston (08 June)

“Paul was such a wonder – a thinker, a doer, a mentor and a dreamer. Wrapped up in a curly moustache with bespoke style. Over his time in Kingston and in his role with the City, Paul helped support the professionalization of KAM, to develop the heritage fund, to transform the City museums, build the City Culture Plan, the Commemorations Policy, lead the Ontario Museum Association and so, so much more.

Paul was my dear friend. I know that he was a dear friend to many of you as well. He expressed his profound admiration and respect for you all to the very end. His passion for history, heritage, culture and community is his legacy. We are heartbroken, but so grateful that he was part of our lives. Paul was a wonderful person and will be forever missed.”

Jennifer Campbell, Director, Cultural Heritage Services, City of Kingston (08 June)

“With a heavy heart I wish to extend our condolences to everyone for you with the passing of your friend and colleague.  I am so sorry to hear the passing of Paul, for the short time I have known him, I found him to be a kind, dynamic and charismatic person!  Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers, I know he will be missed.”

Tamara Van Dyk, KAM Board Member / Site & Visitor Experience Manager, Bellevue House
(08 June)

“What sad news, when Paul first came to Kingston, we were in the early days of getting The Lower Burial Ground Restoration Society started, he was a great supporter and gave us a lot of valuable advice, helped us get some significant donations and remained interested in our work. A very special person, you always felt better after talking with him, his enthusiasm and passions were inspirational.  We are all lucky to have had him in our midst, truly someone who made a difference in this world and I hope he realized that. Thanks for sharing the news, even though it is so sad.”

Marianne & Doug Thompson, Lower Burial Ground Society (09 June)

“Paul was always a great person to sit next to at meetings, a level headed and calm person. I have sat with him many times over the many years at meetings, conferences, exhibit openings, and PD sessions.

Always a little humorous, thoughtful and professional.  Paul will be missed.  Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, we are thinking of them at this sad time.”

Joanne Himmelman, Curator, Lennox & Addington County Museum (10 June)

“I’m writing to say how sorry I am to learn of the passing of Paul Robertson. I did not have the opportunity to meet or work with Paul, but I know of his passion for museology and the impact he had on your community as City of Kingston Curator.

An article announcing his passing described Paul as a bright light. I am convinced the flame that inhabited him and illuminated his work and the lives of so many will continue to burn bright in the memories of all those that he touched.  

To you and to the entire Kingston area museum community, I extend our sincere condolences for the loss of your friend and colleague.”

Massimo Bergamini, (Executive Director & CEO (Interim) Canadian Museums Association
(10 June)

In keeping with Paul’s passion, KAM has given support in his memory to:

  1. Rainbow RailroadWe help LGBTQI+ people escape state-sponsored violence.  In countries around the world, LGBTQI+ people face violence and oppression simply because of who they love or who they are. We help them get to safety
  2. Melos Choir & Period Instruments
  3. KHSC – Cancer Centre