As you may know, my Word of the Year is Curate. So I asked my friend Amy King, who has been a professional museum curator to write an article for me about what she does as an actual curator. And she did! YAY! Thanks, Amy
What Curating Means to a Museum Curator
My name is Amy King and I have been the curator at the Tulare County Museum for twelve years now and continue to find the work fascinating! One of my favorite exhibits to curate is the rotating series of cultural exhibits in the History of Tulare County Farm Labor & Agriculture Museum gallery.
This gallery has housed thirteen different exhibits highlighting the different cultures that have had a major impact on agriculture in Tulare County. With each new exhibit, I have the honor of capturing local family histories that have shaped the story of Tulare County and turning those memories into an educational display for people to learn more about local history. There is so much history to know that you will never be finished learning and I love that!
In finding families to share their history by way of oral histories, photographs, and items I find that many of the histories are very similar and there is a commonality that families can connect through in sharing these histories.
Taking all the information and making it into an exhibit for our community is a very large task and it is always a varied process for each exhibit. Of course, there is the printing and mounting of photos, ordering of vinyl lettering, and organizing display cases for the items each time, but the order of those things and the detailed organization of the information to present a cohesive display is a challenge I am always up for.
The work of this curator is very diverse and that keeps the job interesting. I am thankful to have the creative license to create something special and unique for our community at the museum. While I will forever be interested in learning, I find that when I visit other museums, I tend to pay more attention to how things are displayed more than to what is displayed. Always looking for ideas on new ways to present material to visitors, I will notice a certain way something is lit or what kind of display case is used, or where the text is in relation to the item. I suppose that is an occupational hazard.
Having the job of a curator often spills over into my personal life and that is something that constantly provides changes for me to navigate as well. In the past eighteen months, I have had three major changes in my life that are all wonderful and challenging at times: I got married, had a baby, and turned forty years old. Navigating these new personal changes has introduced a new juggling act of home time versus work time. Prior to these three changes, work took priority, and I would often find myself working late and having several jobs at a time. Especially with my expanding family, that now takes priority, and work time must be balanced for me to feel I have adequate time to dedicate to my new important roles in life.
Although I have made many connections through my work at the museum, they feel like family, and all have made me feel supported during this transition. I feel honored to have the life I have created for myself and would not trade it for anything. Being thankful for my work and family is something that I know can be rare these days and I do not take that for granted. So when I have a hard day I can honestly say it is all worth it to be the curator of all that I have been given.
Like Amy, I love to visit museums as well and take note of how things are displayed. What I love about Amy’s work is that the museum is so clean and bright. It has large displays – a house, a car (from my pictures years ago), and a wagon with some beautiful display cabinets that are current.
As I reread Amy’s article, I bolded some of the similarities I see to blogging that I can glean from to enhance my work in curating my blog and my life.
- interviewing families (bloggers)
- attending to the look of the museum (blog) – using photos and lettering
- sifting through information to educate about the display
- having creative license
- finding patterns and commonalities
- balancing work and home
- making many close connections through work
Thank you so much, Amy for sharing a bit about your job and your life. Congratulations on all the new changes in your life since I left! “The work of this curator is very diverse and that keeps the job interesting.” Being diverse and interesting is what I want to celebrate in my life and my blog, as an extension of my life.
Ongoing at Always Write
- Story Chat – Anne Goodwin’s story, “The Power of Verticality” has made a deep impact on readers so far. There is much debate as to who is narrating the story and whether or not her narration is reliable. People who have had to be caregivers during their lives can really relate to this story.
- Celebrating holidays starting Wednesday on WQW. There’s still time to link your ideas about fitness.
- PPAC on Friday takes a catty turn. Watch out for big cats!
- Monthly Updates WOTY: February, January Intro to WOTY
Now it’s your turn.
What have you learned about your Word of the Year WOTY, and how does it affect your life? Amy and I would both love to hear what you think about curating and how her story helps you with your blog. Thanks so much for joining us today.