By Anne Draper

Dr. FlorianDoctor Mary-Lou Florian, a James Bay resident for 38 years, a dedicated Royal BC Museum volunteer for 13 years, and a distinguished Conservation Scientist who works with world-wide heritage sites and museum collections, is a mother of two sons, a grandmother of one granddaughter and one grandson, and also an avid "backyard gardener." A garden with many different species of plant-life that includes herbs, vegetables, and fruit and berry-producing crops of edibles, plus flowers for colour and aroma enjoyment. Aromatherapy: the use of fragrant essential oils as a treatment in alternative medicine, often to relieve tension (Collins Canadian Dictionary). A small greenhouse contains pots of fragrant plants that help keep a busy scientist focused and keep a tremendous workload from overwhelming our devoted researcher.

Doctor Florian is currently awaiting the publication of her fourth book, Biofilm Microorganisms, which examines the impact of the environment on heritage materials. She continues to assist museum curators and the University of Victoria with her knowledge. Our neighbor has studied botany, zoology, plant pathology, mycology, plant anatomy, art history, marine biology, population genetics, and ecological anthropology, and has worked in cancer research during her early years - 1948 - 1957. She has held teaching positions from 1950 - 1974 in Ottawa and Texas.

Museum Conservation Scientist positions were followed by time spent with the Canadian Conservation Institute, National Gallery, and the National Museum of Natural Science in Ottawa, plus the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

She has received awards from: the BC Museum Association, the Governor General of Canada, the Society for the Preservation of Natural History, and the American Institute for Conservation, and was made an Honorary Member and Guest Scholar at the Getty Conservation Institute. Our neighbour has held numerous advisory positions in Canada and the US and has produced and published a large amount of museum-related research internationally. Our 85-year-old Honorary Degree recipient also studied ancient, medieval, and Renaissance art history and was awarded the Top Provincial Student Award by the University of Saskatchewan in 1958. She practised art and scientific illustrations at the National Museum and served as an art critique writer with the Ottawa Journal, writing a weekly column, "Art in Ottawa," 1961 - 1963.

Mary-Lou Florian received an Honorary PhD and a 125th Commemorative Medal on June 14, 2011, from the University of Victoria.

On "How to Keep Young":

"I push myself to learn something new every day and I laugh a lot, even though my body is in a steady state of repair."