People always ask me, ‘How did you get interested in museum work?’ I suppose it began while visiting my grandparents as a kid. At their home, I loved staring at random artifacts that lined the walls and covered the tables. Whether in front of a painting, an old shop sign or some unrecognizable object, I always found myself wanting to know more about it.
My fascination with objects stayed with me. Eventually, I decided to study anthropology as a way of starting a career in archaeology. After one year as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont, I had the chance to spend a summer excavating a site between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain near Burlington, Vermont.
Spoiler alert: my career as an archaeologist was short-lived.
Still, my interest in everyday objects and history grew. After that summer, I dedicated myself to museum work. By the time I earned my undergraduate degree, I worked at the Robert Hull Fleming Museum in Burlington, Vermont and the Senator John Heinz History Center in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While working at these museums, I developed interests in urban history, local identity and popular culture.
Eventually, I left Pittsburgh for Cooperstown, New York, where I earned a master’s degree at the Cooperstown Graduate Program. In my thesis, I explored images of post-World War II urban renewal in the Hill District, a once vibrant neighborhood in Pittsburgh where city planners built a multi-purpose auditorium.
As a graduate student, I completed a summer internship in the curatorial department at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown. At the Hall of Fame, I helped with exhibit development, presented collection objects to the public and wrote an article about the “Green Weenie” (it’s a real object, I promise). I also worked as a customer service representative at The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum–both in Cooperstown–whose folk art collection sparked my interest in American art history.
Yes, I’m a museum nerd and proud of it.
But, there’s more to me. Since hearing my parents wear out their vinyl copy of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” music has been a major part of my life. Whenever possible, I love hearing live music and will listen to just about anything (my favorites include bluegrass, jazz, rock, reggae, blues and classical). Along with music, I love to travel and be outdoors, especially to hike and camp. Finally, for the sake of full disclosure: I’m a huge Penguins, Pirates and Steelers fan (don’t worry, I’m still looking forward to seeing the Blue Jackets, Buckeyes, Clippers and Crew).
Like my sports allegiances, my enthusiasm for art, culture and history won’t fade. After just over one month of living in Ohio, I’ve already discovered so much about the state, but know there’s plenty of ground to cover. I look forward to exploring more through the collections at the Ohio History Connection and am excited to share my passion with you.