This blog came about as a response to the ever-growing list of things on my plate. I am a current graduate student in museum studies at The University of Oklahoma. I began three and a half years ago after being out of school for seven years. I had originally planned to work as an artist. I earned my BFA in glass from Tyler School of Art and have spent the last ten years honing my craft. About 4 years ago, I started to consider shifting my focus from making art to working with it in a different capacity. At the time, I was thinking a lot about my childhood and the things that I had enjoyed. While making art definitely played a large role in my childhood, when I started to examine why that was, I discovered that my attraction to art stemmed from something that came from a deeper part of me.
When I was three years old, my mother passed away. In the months that followed, my grandparents spent a lot of time with us. My father’s mother would take the bus from Long Island down to Pennsylvania on the weekends to visit. Even though this was a very sad time in my life, seeing her always filled me with excitement. We did lots of different activities together, but the one that I recall the most fondly, was our frequent trips to The Allentown Art Museum. As a young girl, my teta had trained as an artist; however, she gave it up because, as she put it, she did not have “le feu dans le ventre”, which translates to “the fire in the belly”. Still, that didn’t stop her from wanting to pass her love of art down to her granddaughter – which she did. Additionally, our visits helped me develop a strong love of museums themselves and of collections. In fact, these early museum trips may have influenced my love of collecting.
As a child I collected everything: Erasers, shells, rocks, stickers, marbles, pens, even gum. Not only did I collect things, I created intricate systems to organize these collections. I still enjoy collecting things. From where I am currently sitting, I can see our rock collection, my feather collection, and my marble collection. After realizing my deep interest in collecting, I decided that I wanted to work in collections care. I began my first semester at The University of Oklahoma in museum studies during the Spring of 2014. I chose this program because it was offered completely online. And it was a good thing I did. I found out my husband and I were expecting our first child a little over two months after starting.
While this was a planned event, I had not fully considered the difficulty that I would face in trying to do these two things simultaneously. Its amazing how much you think you know until you actually try and do what you thought you knew. As someone who had never had a child of my own and had never worked toward an advanced degree, I thought these two things would blend effortlessly into my existing life. Maybe that is possible for some people, but it certainly wasn’t the case for me. I had crippling “morning” sickness the entire pregnancy. My delivery required a month of bed rest. And my son had such terrible colic, that I feel I still suffer some PTSD from it two years later. Still, I never quit. Instead, I had to adapt how I approached both school and parenting to make it work.
Now in my forth year of grad school (yes, forth), and with Sebastian requiring more engaging kinds of activities, I decided I needed to find an even better way to blend my career and my family. I decided to start this blog to combine the two things that occupy 90% of my time (sadly, sleep is not one of them). Just like my grandmother had done for me, I want to share my love of art, history, and collections with my son. Furthermore, I want to share my love for museums and what they have to offer with other families so that they might also utilize them to enhance their own family’s dynamic. Museums are so much more than their collections and the spaces they inhabit. They are places where people can spend time together, in person, engaging in a common activity that encourages discussion among its participants. In a world where social media has become our main source of socialization, it is so important to find outlets where we can connect with one another in ways that are authentic and help to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships.
This blog will follow my journey as I finish school and work towards a career in the museum field, while caring for my family and sharing my affection for museums with them. I hope to encourage people to visit their local museums and see what they have to offer. They may be surprised at how much they get out of it.
I enjoyed reading your blog! I too, am very interested in museums and wanted to see if there were any blogs out there about museums. I found yours! Thanks for sharing your story and all the things in your life that led you to a love of museums. My name is Karen Athay Packer (my facebook name) and I am 64 years old and live in Orem, Utah. Find me on Fb and let me know how things are going for you!! 🙂
Thank you Karen! I’m glad you enjoy my blog and thank you for reaching out! Its great to meet another museum lover!