Director, Downing Museum
Bowling Green, KY
Where do you currently work?
I am the Director at the Downing Museum in Bowling Green, KY. I came into this job
actually through an internship that I did while working on the M.A. During the summer
of 2013, I worked with Sandy Staebell, who is the Collections Curator at the Kentucky
Museum, on a large textile collections inventory project. I began that summer inventorying
quilts, but my internship took a completely different turn toward the middle of that
summer. On June 27, we received a call informing us that the Downing Museum was on
fire and we needed to go assist with removing artwork from the building. My time at
the Kentucky Museum was reallocated so that I could assist in compiling a complete
damage inventory of the Downing Museum's collection. A year later, after graduation,
I came on board with the Jerry E. Baker Foundation as the Collection's Manager for
the Downing Museum. Initially, my job was to facilitate efforts to ensure both short
and long term preservation of the collection. In February of 2016, I stepped up as
Interim Director of the Downing Museum and have served as Director since the summer
How has folklore prepared you for your career?
On the surface, learning the core tenants of historic preservation and museology were
highly valuable and important aspects of my training, as well as learning to work
with the variety of individuals that I've encountered in the small museum setting.
I learned a great deal about museum education, exhibition, curation, and collection's
management during my time at WKU. More importantly, studying folklore gave me the
skills that have assisted me in establishing programs that expand the Jerry E. Baker
Foundation's core value of community outreach. One of my main goals in my first year
as director here at the Downing Museum has been to develop and implement a variety
of art education programs geared to enrich the lives of all members of our community.
Two of the most memorable groups that we've worked with include the Boys and Girls
Club of Bowling Green and the WKU Intercultural Student Engagement Center. With each
of these groups, we were able to demonstrate how art can provide a safe environment
for self expression. To quote Henry Glassie, folklore deals with the "dynamic association
of the ideas and individual creativity and collective order". Seeing these individual
expressions and collective order working together as a dynamic force is very rewarding
not only to myself, but more importantly, to the group. It allows for enrichment on
both the personal and community level.