I began my museum career in the archives of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC working for fellow Carleton alum Maygene Daniels ’70. The archives maintains the historical records of the institution, including the historic records of the Gallery’s founding, original architectural drawings, and photographs of every exhibition installation. One memorable project was gathering photographs of Monuments Men (several of whom were National Gallery curators) rescuing artwork looted by the Nazis for the documentary The Rape of Europa.
I left the National Gallery to pursue a masters in art history at Washington University, where I studied under fellow Carl Dr. Paul Crenshaw ’90. His work on Rembrandt’s bankruptcy and my internship on an exhibition of Rembrandt prints at the St. Louis Art Museum were invaluable to my thesis on Rembrandt and civic authority in Amsterdam.
After grad school I moved to New York, where I became the archivist at the Alexander Calder Foundation. Drawing on my archival training at the National Gallery, I maintained an extensive holding of Calder’s personal papers as well as the 26,000 object records in the Calder catalogue raisonné. Additionally, I assisted the director with conservation treatments and provided support to collectors and institutions on the conservation and care of Calder works.
This prepared me well for my current position at SAM, where I provide support to the conservation, registrar, and exhibition design departments. Together, they are responsible for the transport, housing, maintenance, and display of SAM’s permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. This gives my job a great deal of variety – among other things, I coordinate access to the conservation studio and storage areas for staff, consultants and guests, create scale mock-ups of art objects for the design team to use in the architectural model when planning exhibition layouts, and continually update our collection’s database with new information on artworks and artists. Most recently, I got to use my Rembrandt background to write the text panels and object labels for an exhibition of Rembrandt prints.
I am grateful for my art history experience at Carleton, which prepared me for a variety of museum positions and introduced me to a network of Carls who have generously fostered my career.