Q: What brought you to Oxford?
Shortest answer, this amazing University position and professional role that I am privileged to have. When I came from Honolulu in Summer, 2012 to interview I was able to stay three days and met everyone : future colleagues, University leaders, Friends of the Museum Board, artists, historic preservationists, the arts & culture community. I recall getting on the plane back to Hawaii thinking, oh my if they offer this job I am so going to depart the Pacific and move to Mississippi!
Q: As director, can you describe the scope of your position?
The position is really multi-valent in the sense that I and my predecessors have been responsible for leading a team at both the Museum and Faulkner’s Rowan Oak, in roles such as spokesperson, fundraiser, strategist, and unit director in the University’s management matrix. Making any part of that possible is the exceptional range of talents and skills of my dedicated Museum colleagues, and our countless University collaborators. The Museum and Rowan Oak exist in an ecosystem of support, community goodwill, and University collegiality that is really nothing short of remarkable.
Q: What do you most want people to see when they come to the Museum?
Ideally, a very inclusive and warmly welcoming environment where lifelong learners from widely diverse backgrounds and all parts of our community can derive inspiration from our collections, exhibitions, and programs. Be certain also to take in the outdoor sculptures and public art, as well as the stunning landscape of the Bailey Woods trail to Rowan Oak. Meet the Curator and Assistant Curator at Rowan Oak, they will brighten your day! Watch for the rotations of exhibitions and collections on display at the Museum, each visit is very likely to feature new artworks and artifacts – – and great narratives about them – – never before encountered.
Q: What do you wish locals knew about the Museum and Historic Houses?
That we work tirelessly to develop and sustain a deep commitment to open access for all. Museums are among the most highly-trusted institutions in the country because at our best we serve the public equitably, and create opportunities for enrichment and multiple pathways to enhanced knowledge – – and exposure to the universal human creative impulse. Now in our 85th year of existence, we want everyone reading these words to feel that it is their Museum.
Q: On a perfect day in Oxford, what would you plan to do outside of work?
Those who know me best will laugh when I observe that I’m certainly going to obsess about my NBA Memphis Grizzlies. And partake of countless leisure options in this amazing place: culinary experiences; literature and authors at every turn; parks, trails, and tree canopies; and a thriving arts, culture, and music community. Certainly there are days when not leaving work is its own great reward, when your job is inside a world-class teaching institution and acclaimed research University.