Director of Collections Management and Curator of Scientific Instruments
The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia
While pursuing my degree in Anthropology I spent several summers with the archaeology field school. During my second season I discovered that although I enjoyed the field work I loved working with the objects once they had been recovered (cataloging, sorting, researching, tracking, preserving, etc.) even more.
After graduation, I worked full time at Jamestown Settlement Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. At that time, the staff working in the reconstructed Indian village undertook quite a bit of experimental archaeology in order to more fully understand and replicate how the Indians lived. During my time there I became an accomplished flint knapper and hide tanner. I also worked on the first reconstruction of a house based on archaeological findings rather than English drawings of the period.
On my days off I worked with the collections staff on the cataloging and rehousing of the Museum’s archaeological collections and in the evenings I pursued a master’s degree in Museum Studies. Shorty after receiving my master’s degree I became an assistant registrar at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The registrar is the person who documents and cares for the collection. A few years later I was promoted to Director of Collections Management and Curator of Scientific Instruments.
I am currently responsible for the care and management of more than 32,000 items, including works of art, ship- and sailor-related items, and 150 small craft from 42 different countries. I also assist with the care of the Museum’s extensive archival, library and photographic collections and the materials recovered from the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
I can honestly say that I owe my success to Dr. James Jordan and the archaeology field school. Without being given the opportunity to work with the materials recovered during the field school season I would never have discovered my passion for museum work. You rock Dr. J!