Behind the Access Doors
By Andrea Hayes, Visitor Services Representative
Many museum jobs seem obscure and mysterious, but really they are at the core of what takes place in museums. I had an opportunity to talk with Collections Manager, Aimee Brooks, about her job at The Columbus Museum and was enlightened to learn about her behind the scenes work.
I asked Aimee about her duties as Collections Manager and I was intrigued to find out that “a collections manager is responsible for the long term preservation of the collections.” Aimee elaborated by saying, “[t]his is accomplished in many ways: proper artifact handling and storage, inventory, environmental monitoring, insurance, and collections database management to name a few.”
Aimee says she’s “always had an interest in history and culture,” and as a result, she pursued an “undergraduate degree in archaeology and decided to expand on that interest. Where do you often find archaeology collections and interpretations of excavations?” Aimee continues. “Museums.” A logical step. And so Aimee earned her “Masters in Museum Science concentrating in the care of collections and [has] been in the field ever since.”
Before coming to work at the Museum, Aimee “worked at a historic house museum in Florida.” The position at the Museum, however, “offered [her] the chance to work with both historical objects and the visual arts.” Being the collections manager makes Aimee privy to behind the scenes goings-on. She mentions that she likes “working with the collection objects” and that “[m]useums in general only have a small portion of their collections out on exhibit. I get the chance to see everything.”
When it comes to exhibits at TCM, Aimee says, “I tend to enjoy the history-based exhibits but do like when both history and art are used to tell stories.” Aimee has a few favorites. “One was here 10 years ago called The Right Chemistry: Colors in Fashion, 1704-1918,” she recalls. “The dresses and other costumes were beautiful and learning about the chemical processes used to make dyes was fascinating. More recently,” she continues, “And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations on the third floor. Textiles again, but I liked the storytelling aspect to it as well.”
Aimee has been at The Columbus Museum for over twenty years, but one of her favorite things consistently remains the staff. She says, “I like how the staff comes together to create fun, interesting and educational offerings to the public. And we have a lot of laughs along the way. It makes it a nice place to be.”