Here is a note from our fabulous Kidspace Director Laura Thompson:
Every time I tell people where I work they say that I must really like my job because for the past six years I have commuted to North Adams 3 -5 days a week from Saratoga New York.Â On good days it takes me 1 Â˝ hours to drive through upstate New York and part of Vermont to get to the Berkshires.Â On bad days, it could take up to 2 Â˝ hours. A bad day is when I have to follow a log truck going 35 miles an hour all the way up Route 7 because there is no place to pass.Â Or during a rainstorm when people forget how to drive.Â Springtime sometimes makes me late for work when the ducklings are crossing at the farm in Pownal (or that day that a large old turtle was crossing, ugh!).
But what I really think about my job is thisâ€¦ I am consistently impressed with the amazing things that the museum accomplishes.Â I have worked for some really difficult and struggling organizations, where staff animosity was deathly and unproductive to say the least.Â MASS MoCA, on the other hand I call â€śmy happy placeâ€ť where there is a great deal of support and positive energy, and fun (how about that in the workplace!).
The perception some have of the museum field is that the more renowned the organization the more pretentious the staff.Â Some friends once said to me that staff at many museums take themselves too seriously and from my early experience in museums I can bear witness to this:Â for example, at one museum I worked for, staff was not allowed to call the museum director by his first name.
What inspired me to write this blog entry was in response to an impromptu family outing Joe (MASS MoCA director) planned a few weeks ago where all staff and their families were invited to go bowling and have pizza. My husband sometimes kids me when I tell him I want to go up to the museum on my day off for a staff event or museum programâ€¦â€ťitâ€™s workâ€ť, he says.Â But I know, he knows my work is so different from his work in the cubicle-filled, florescent-lighted for-profit world. (Donâ€™t even get me started on the difference: just know that the people on the tv show The Office and comic strip Dilbert are not fiction!)
The bowling party was a simple thing to do but really reinforced my belief that museums (or any job excluding brain surgeons) that take themselves too serious are a drag. Or as Martinetti said in 1908 â€śMuseums, cemeteries! But to take for a daily walk through the museums our spleen, lack of courage, and morbid restlessness, we will not grant it!â€¦Why will you poison yourselves? Why will you decay?â€ť I donâ€™t think he had MASS MoCA in mind when he said this.
(The Thompson family at the bowling party)
Director of Exhibitions and Education
Kidspace at MASS MoCA