back to things that make me happy.
I know I’ve talked about my experiences volunteering at the Walters on previous occasions, but I’m going to go ahead and do it some more. I’m actually going to cram a couple of weekends into one post, so as to not bore you for too too long.
The first weekend in January also happened to be the final weekend of the Heroes exhibit. It was a lovely exhibit, and I’m sad I didn’t get to spend more time seeing it (I only saw it the once. I’m a bad Ancient Studies major). In case you don’t realize this, let me point out that it was also the weekend after New Year’s and the last weekend of vacation for a lot of local kids.
My supervisor had been asking for folks to work whatever extra hours they could for a solid month. I wasn’t able to help much because of normal work, but I did tell her I would go in that Sunday as well for a bit to help out. Sunday was expected to be the craziest day of all, the final day of the exhibit. I think they were expecting close to two thousand visitors.
That might not seem like a whole lot, but for one day, at a museum, it is.
Saturday ended up being far busier than Sunday. I stayed about an hour and a half later than my normal time, until the crowd really started to die down. It was fun. I really enjoy the museum environment. I like the people who work there. I like that awesome sandwich in the café. I love the art.
At one point that day, a woman fell on the sidewalk outside the museum. She was chasing after her kids and appeared to trip. For a few minutes, she wasn’t able to get up, either. (She wasn’t an old lady. A mom-lady, but not *old*. No older than my own mother at the oldest, and I don’t even believe she was that age.) She’d hurt her hip taking that tumble. Eventually she was able to get up and come inside out of the frigid cold. She sat on the couch right by the main entrance of the museum. One of the security guards took her kids in to see the exhibit (I’m glad, because I was about to go over and herd them in myself). She made several phone calls; I think she ended up a bit put out by security. I kinda think they didn’t know what to do with her, but I tried my best to smooth any ruffled feathers there might have been. (Mostly I just got her a pen when she asked for one and told her to let me know if she needed anything at all.) Eventually her husband arrived to pick them all up and I believe to take her to the hospital.
So, Random Nice Lady who fell outside the Walters on January 3rd, I hope you’re ok! I hope you didn’t break anything!
That was the drama for that weekend. Sunday ended up being a much quieter day than folks were expecting, so I got sent home earlier than I was planning. I hadn’t realized before then that I was essentially working two weeks straight because of that. It was a tiring weekend. I enjoy the hell out of it, but it’s still tiring.
The following weekend was our first volunteer meeting of the New Year. I think we have them quarterly, maybe? I’m not sure, as this was only my second one, and we had a guest speaker! Woohoo!
The Director of Exhibitions and Collections Management (I don’t think I got her title totally right, but I can’t remember!) came in to give us a basic behind the scenes look at how an exhibit is put together, from conception to planning to production to opening day. She gave us examples from both the Heroes exhibit and a previous exhibit (the Beadazzled exhibit that I’m still bummed I missed) to illustrate her points, and to demonstrate how the exhibition space in the Centre Street building is transformed between exhibits.
And I have to admit, I fell in love.
I was pretty much enraptured throughout her whole presentation (with PowerPoint and everything). I was utterly fascinated, and it really helped solidify my desire to work in the museum world. Like all small, academic type settings (and let’s face it, most other places too), it’s probably royally fucked up in a lot of ways, and a lot of it will always be about who you know (how do you think the loan of art pieces across institutions happens?), but it is *so* where I belong.
At one point, she compared the production of an exhibit to theater production. This is when the light bulb above my head lit up. A lot of things really clicked for me with that statement. It made me happy. I really enjoyed the whole presentation. The only problem I’m having is deciding where, precisely, I think I want to be. Do I want to be a curator (probably), do I want to work in research and production? I don’t know. I kind of want to do everything.
All this just serves to make me that much more excited for school next fall whenever I fucking get there. I better get into a damned program!
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Tags: art history, exhibits, the walters art museum