Exhibitions are the work of a larger team than you think

View of an exhibit gallery

The Bobby Jones exhibit hall.

On March 31, Woodruff Library hosted an employee celebration of “Bobby Jones: The Game of Life.” Here is an edited version of exhibitions manager Kathy Dixson’s remarks, which describe the team effort that goes into Schatten Gallery’s major exhibitions:

As the library exhibitions manager, people often come up to me when I’m in the gallery working on a new exhibit or at the opening and tell me how well things are coming along, or how great the exhibit looks. I very much appreciate those people taking the time to let me know this.

I respond with a thank you and almost always add that there’s a big team behind me, and I’ll let the team know their work is appreciated. So this is my opportunity to do that.

John Klingler, Gretchen Warner and I are the exhibitions team of record. And I cannot thank the two of them enough for their exceptional work, their flexibility, and their good humor.

But the team roster doesn’t stop there. You know it, I know it, and this is a time when I can acknowledge that. All of you in this room and others who aren’t here constitute the exhibitions team.

So thank you to all of you.

For example, in this room there are curators and co curators. The exhibits wouldn’t happen without them — and their spouses.

Photo of a wall mural inside a gallery

The Bobby Jones swing mural. Some suggest he has the most perfect swing in the history of golf.

There are the exhibitions coordinators from MARBL, Preservation, and Digitization who manage the handling and processing of the original collections for use in the exhibits.

I’m not mentioning names now because I know I would leave someone out. I can’t even continue listing teams or roles people play and be comprehensive. So instead, I’m going to offer you some additional examples — some general and some specific things that people have done or do to help us with all our exhibits. And I hope that each of you will “find yourselves” somewhere in this list. If not, let me know and I’ll add it should I ever get a chance to do this again.

You’re a member of the exhibitions team if you’ve:

  • Acquired and processed collections
  • Ordered and catalogued books that supported research into the collections
  • Selected artifacts to use or figured out how to best display them in the case
  • Written label copy
  • Edited label copy. Found spelling errors before or after we’d installed the panels
  • Kept an eye on the exhibits, their security and their appearance, when we weren’t around
  • Found an obscure fact or unusual item for us to include in an exhibit
  • Arranged for or actually cleaned and waxed the gallery floor
  • Peeled letters off the banister while burning your fingers with the hair dryer
  • Told us there was leftover food we could eat as we worked late
  • Helped us reduce or eliminate the amount of light on the cases and artifacts
  • Gave us honest feedback on the exhibit
  • Helped us better balance the lighting
  • Ordered supplies and paid all the invoices
  • Found the money we needed to cover those costs
  • Shared an idea with us that proved to be fabulous for an exhibit
  • Planned an opening that made everyone happy before they even viewed the exhibit
  • Chaired or served on the events and exhibitions committee
  • Made the AV kiosk do what it was supposed to do
  • Went shopping for headphones at the last minute
  • Wrote a press release or designed a flyer
  • Dealt with Fair Use
  • Challenged us with new ideas about what exhibits should look like
  • Digitized something, and then re-digitized it for use at a higher resolution and didn’t swear in front of us
  • Went up and down and up and down a ladder to make sure the lighting was the best it could be
  • Got bids for construction work and oversaw contractors
  • Helped us hire a student assistant to keep the cases clean
  • Arranged audio or video conferences so we could discuss an exhibit with off-site partners
  • Helped us fly a kite
  • Said yes, when you could have more easily said no

There’s no end to the generosity and good will all of you demonstrate in small and large ways to make the exhibitions happen. So thank you all very much. I’d like to raise a toast to the exhibitions team and thank all of you for being a part of it.

This entry was posted in News and Events and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>