FIDM Museum is proud to participate in Museum Week, an international social media initiative to go behind-the-scenes of your favorite cultural institutions. From March 28 to April 4, a daily theme will bring you new insight about the inner-workings of our museum. Today's theme is #PeopleMW; it's an opportunity to get to know the individuals who care for the objects in our collection, curate the exhibitions, organize the budgets, work with donors, lead visitor tours, and all of the other infinite tasks that go along with running a museum.
We thought our fearless leader Kevin Jones would be the perfect person to provide a glimpse of daily life at the FIDM Museum! Kevin has been with the Museum since 1999; he began his career as Collections Manager, and was appointed Curator in 2002. He and Associate Curator Christina Johnson curated and wrote accompanying catalogues for the headline exhibitions High Style: Betsy Bloomingdale and the Haute Couture in 2009, and Fabulous! Ten Years of Museum Acquisitions in 2011. In this #MuseumWeek interview, Kevin discusses the realities of working in a museum, why he studies fashion history, and where he finds our amazing new acquisitions!
The word "curator" is used a lot these days - what does your job as Curator of the FIDM Museum entail?
I mainly use the word "curator" to mean someone working with objects on theme-specific projects that have educational value. A curator does not need to be at an institution like the FIDM Museum, or even handle physical objects (think of online exhibitions), but does need to be an authority in what he/she is talking about. The optimal word is "educate": to tell a story and relay information in an insightful, meaningful way through the use of objects. I personally don't like to see the word watered down or used to sell merchandise: "I curated my Pinterest board" or "I curated my breakfast this morning!"
In my day-to-day work, I hunt for objects for the Museum's upcoming women's sports fashion exhibition (opening 2019) and research the objects we already have for the catalogue. I also return a lot of phone calls to potential donors and set up appointments to examine objects either in our office or at private homes. I interact with colleagues on a myriad of topics, such as Gallery tours, travel arrangements, and loans to other museums. I also spend a lot of my time with our Fashion Council, the volunteer support group that helps us raise money for object acquisitions and project development.