Q: What sparked your love of museums, and what led to your current position at the Lilly?
A: My love for museums started a long time ago—actually, during my freshman year here at IU. I did a few practicums in the conservation department of what was then known as the Mathers Museum. That experience of being one on one with the material and learning basic object care hooked me. I went on to do several internships around the country at museums to make sure it was a career I wanted to pursue. Since my freshman year in Bloomington, I think the Lilly Library was always lingering in my future … I just didn’t know it then.
Q: How have you and your colleagues been preparing for the Sherlock Holmes exhibition? Why do you think he remains so popular?
A: This is our second major exhibition since the renovation of the Lilly Library, resulting in a flurry of preparing: consulting with Glen Miranker, the Sherlock Holmes collector who lent these materials to the Lilly; preparing the collection for exhibition, organizing events; and creating the accompanying design by our new graphic designer, David Orr. All these elements happen with several different departments in tandem to make an exhibition; it is quite a process. I agree with my fellow Lilly librarians about Sherlock Holmes. He remains popular because he is unashamedly, irreducibly strange. He is not like any other people around him. He shows us that people who think in different ways can do fulfilling work, solve problems, and thrive, even when the people around them don’t always understand them. We don’t have to be like everyone else or fit in to be worthwhile.
Q: What do you want people to know about your work that they might not know?
A: This is a funny question because I am sure that most people, including my friends, are genuinely confused about that I do. I suppose I would like them to know that I get to work with incredible material that they too can experience in the Lilly Reading Room. I also work with curators to make their research dreams come true through an exhibition. The curator is the expert in the subject being shown. I assist with making their subject or the theme of the exhibition accessible to a broad audience through layout design, dramatic lighting, and placement of text. At the same time, I trouble shoot layout possibilities for material, and periodically you can find me inside of a wall case adjusting lights.
Q: What is your favorite object at the Lilly Library?
A: That is a very tough question. I have been here for over six years now, and every day I am introduced to something new and exciting. But the first thing that drew me in, and that I think about often, is "Sylvæ: fifty specimens printed directly from the wood with historical anecdotes,"by Ben Verhoeven. This particular artist book checks a few boxes for me—it touches on history, features the natural environment, and also includes wood specimen samples, which provides sort of an interactive element that I enjoy.
Q: What is your favorite place on campus or in Bloomington, and why?
A: A few of my favorite places on campus are the Biology Building Greenhouse and the Arboretum. I love visiting these places at different times of year to see the changes in the landscape and to get ideas for my own yard. These places are great to escape to when I have a few minutes to get away and clear my head. I want to give a shout out to the landscaping crew on campus; the campus landscape is so beautiful and on point.