Monday, November 11, 2013

The Riveting Life of a Museums Professional

I don't talk a whole lot about my day job; here, I'd like to connect my Batman to my Bruce Wayne for ya'll.

Why I Work in Museums
I'm part of the Education staff for an art museum.
I have an Honours Degree in Art History and History, and I like to say (without lie, I tell you) that art was about as far away as I could run from math.1 Working on this sort of degree you get a lot of "what are you going to do with that?" and the rather annoying assumption that you're obviously going to be a school teacher.  Ever since I was a wee girl, and I paid my first visit to a history museum (that is, they were all dressed up in old timey-stuff), I knew that was the future for me.

What I Do in Museums
My knee-jerk reaction to the "school teacher" label isn't to say I don't teach art/history. I do that all the time, but the difference between the classroom and the gallery is incredible. In the museum, you're a novelty; you aren't the regular teacher, and you're likely not teaching in the regular way. You get to interact with people for a very short period of time, and only hope that you've added some value and planted some seeds that will eventually produce a positive connection with the arts on a spectrum from grudging acceptance to what happened to me as a kid, one of those who knows that's the job for them.

I'm going to do a quick bit of mythbusting here: not all people who work in museums are called curators. Here's a list of different roles within the museums field. I fall under Education. It's fun over here. Us Educators get to interpret those exhibitions the curators put together, ie: elucidate the value of what can sometimes be convoluted and hard to access concepts, making meaning from and connections to objects, or (in the case of an art museum) works of art.

I also get to blog for my museum! Want a looky-loo?

What Makes Museum People Laugh

Stuff Museum People Say

My favourite is "bleed away from the artifact!"

And the hilarious tumblr When You Work at a Museum. I'm in STITCHES here, people!
1 And to think, I do stupid, stinky-face math all the time now. (But shhh, don't tell my dad.)


Hilary said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I also have an Art History degree (I think you and I were separated at birth), and always thought about pursuing a museum job, but then started focusing on the Classics stuff. Anyway, it's really cool to hear about what you do, and I'd love to hear more next time I see you!

Sarah Montie said...

I loved your look into your professional life at the Museum. I have been involved in the starting of a museum in my home town, one of the few artist's studio museums in the country, John F. Peto Studio Museum.
I enjoyed the video.

Elena Knits said...

Thank you for sharing with us that part of your life. I was almost sure your job was art/history related :D

And thanks for the video, it's hilarious!