Ken Adams

I was born in Trenton, Ontario and raised as part of a military family. I had early opportunity to live and travel in Eastern Canada and Europe, and I developed an interest in fossils, dinosaurs and landscapes shaped by past events. While living in Val d'Or, Quebec, the families of many of my class mates were involved in mining and mineral exploration. I received my Bachelor of Science in Geology at Mt. Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick in 1973. I received my Master of Science degree in Geology at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 1978, studying the Taxonomy and Paleoecology of the Gigantoproductids of Nova Scotia. As I student, I worked with Noranda Exploration, AMOCO, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and TexasGulf. After graduation, I worked with Minorex (Asbestos Corporation), Thetford Mines, Quebec, Noranda Exploration, Matagami Lake, Quebec, Seabright Exploration and West Miner Canada, Nova Scotia. While working at Forest Hill, I helped develop a model for gold mineralization related to quartz veins. Currently, I am working as Director/Curator of the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia (site is locally managed by the Cumberland Geological Society, as part of the Nova Scotia Museum). The Museum provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the region's geological heritage, which includes Canada's oldest dinosaur fossils and the formation of the structure known as the Bay of Fundy. The site helps bring over 22,000 visitors to the area each year in partnership with other attractions and services. Activity related to site operation and usage has a significant economic impact on our community and we provide students perusing careers in the Earth sciences education and tourism with opportunities for summer and longer term employment.


Q: What is the title of your job and what do you do?

A: Director/Curator

Q: Who do you work for, and where are you based?

A: Cumberland Geological Society. The Fundy Geological Museum, located in Parrsboro, is a locally operated branch of the Nova Scotia Museum.

Q: What kind of hours/shifts do you work?

A: During the summer season, mid May through mid-October the Museum is open to the public 8 hours daily (9.30 am to 5.30 pm). Winter hours are from Monday through Saturday (8.30 am - 4.30 pm). Salaried position, 40 hours per week minimum

Q: Where do you work?

A: As Director/ Curator I am primarily responsible for the day to day operation of the museum. This provides me with opportunities to work on a number of activities throughout the museum. Although a high percentage of my time is spent behind a desk planning future activities, applying for student grants and operational funding, coordinating advertising and promotions, answering public inquiries and e-mail, I can also be found assisting in the laboratory or with field excavations, helping to design and develop exhibits and programming, acting as an interpreter in the exhibit gallery or conducting field tours, assisting with building maintenance, filling in at the Visitor Information desk or in our Gift Shop, and more.

Q: What equipment/machinery do you use?

A: Laptop, PCs, pen knife, hand lense, geology hammer, digital camera, microscopes, GPS, and more.

Q: What education or training is required for your job?

A: While studies related to a BSc and subsequently an MSc in the fields of geology and paleontology provided a basic understanding of the principles of geology, on-the-job experience developed skills related to data collection and analysis, records management, research and interpretive skills. Museum related activities including collection, conservation, research, interpretation and exhibition of specimens require a similar knowledge.

Q: What kind of personal traits do you recommend for this profession?

A: Interest in nature, problem solving, ability to work with people, being a team player, good verbal communication.

Q: What is the salary range of your job?

A: $ 40K to $ 65K

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: Appreciation for the natural wonders that surround us. Having the opportunity to tell staff members and visitors the stories that can be "read" in our landscapes, shaped by glaciers and the shore line cliffs which are being eroded daily by the tides of the Bay of Fundy. The region's diverse geological heritage provides an opportunity to learn about plate tectonics, Pangea, extinction, changing climates, life emerging from the sea, development of tetrapods (amphibians, reptiles and the rise of the dinosaurs). Canada's oldest dinosaurs were found along our shores! Our geology has helped shape our local cultural heritage, coal mining contributed to past economies, and our blueberries benefit from acidic soils related to bedrock and glacial till.

Q: What are the advantages?

A: Working with people (staff, visitors, partners), ability to contribute to my local/regional community using a variety of skills, opportunities to interpret our diverse geological heritage through museum exhibits, programs and tours to local sections. While travel is limited geographically, I can travel through millions of years of geology by visiting a local beach. Our region is being developed as part of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia's Bay of Fundy tourism product. This has provided me with opportunities to work with partners along our shores, including heritage sites, accommodations, etc., to promote our own area as a tourist destination and to help create employment and bring substantial tourist dollars into our regional economy.

Q: What are the advancement opportunities for this career?

A: As Director/Curator of a locally operated branch of the Nova Scotia Museum there are limited opportunities for advancement on site. There would be potential to move to a similar or related position at a larger provincial or national museum.

Q: How physically demanding is your job?

A: Overall, not demanding enough. Time spent at a computer and overall administrative duties is not balanced with field work. I would like to spend more time in the field.

Q: Why did you choose this career?

A: It is more a case of the career choosing me. When I enrolled in geology, at Mount Allison University in 1973, Museum Director was not identified on any list of future outcomes. Exploration geologist, mining engineer, paleontologist, mine geologist? In 1989, following a career in mineral exploration (Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Quebec), I became involved with the development of a museum of paleontology and geology in Parrsboro, and was hired as the first employee for the Fundy Geological Museum in 1992.

Q: What is your most memorable moment/event/place related to your experience as an Earth scientist?

A: Opening of the Fundy Geological Museum in 1993. As a member of the original Board of Directors of the Cumberland Geological Society I had the opportunity to help develop this facility. I have also been actively involved with the Joggins Fossil Cliffs project, as a Board Member of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs Institute. A new interpretive site, officially opened April 21, 2008, showcases the geological heritage of the Upper Carboniferous. The cliffs are currently being considered for inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Q: What is your advice to newcomers?

A: Find out what your interests or intellectual passions are. At the end of the day a "job" helps to pay the bills and interests become "hobbies". If you are fortunate enough to find an outlet for your interests and skills at work....

Q: Any other comments to share?

A: As an Earth scientist you have the opportunity to see the world around us in a way that may not be apparent to the general public. Part of the thrill is walking along a beach with a group of visitors/students and pointing out 300 million year old amphibian tracks.

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