Q: What is your title and how long have you been at the National Portrait Gallery?
A: Registration technician, ten years
Q: Where did you go to college and how did you prepare yourself for a career in museum work?
A: I received a BA in history from the University of California, Riverside, and an MA in museum studies at the George Washington University. I started on the path to a career in museum work as a volunteer at the San Bernardino County Museum while I was working on my undergraduate degree. I eventually landed a job there and gained some great experience in museum registration and collections management.
I was lucky enough to work with history, art, anthropology, paleontology, and special collections, which exposed me to a wide variety of disciplines and materials.
Q: You have worked on many exhibitions here at NPG—do you have a favorite show or installation?
A: I’ve been involved in roughly sixty exhibitions since I started working in the Registrar’s Office. My favorite exhibition so far war the inaugural Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition in 2006. It was a perfect example of how dynamic portraiture can be.
Q: Do you have a favorite work in the collection?
A: It’s hard to have just one favorite. I love the portrait of Walter Lippmann (below) by Stanley Meltzoff hanging in our “Twentieth-Century Americans” exhibition. Its hushed tone reminds me of a late-night writing session, when the rest of the house is quiet and all you can hear is the tick of the clock and the rustle of papers.
I’m also partial to the three portraits we have by Ralph Steadman, one of William S. Burroughs and two of Hunter S. Thompson. I love Steadman’s style—free-flowing, almost spastic—it has a great energy to it.
Q: Can you give us a “best moment at the NPG” story?
A: My best moment at the NPG was when the gallery reopened to the public in 2006. I was a member of the team of people responsible for moving the art back into the building for the reopening, and we worked long, hard days to ensure that everything would be in place for opening day. It’s an achievement I’m very proud of.
Walter Lippmann / Stanley Meltzoff / Oil on gessoed panel, c. 1954 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution