Hello all! My time as Administrative Associate at Chucalissa is quickly coming to a close, as I pack my bags and head over to Chattanooga, TN. Below are a few questions the staff had for me before I leave…..
How did you become interested in museums?
I have always loved museums, for their ability to teach through objects, their quiet, clean, cool space for contemplation, and their sense of discovery. I had never considered museums as a career, however, until I landed a job working as a part-time Curator of History at the Pink Palace Family of Museums. The position allowed me to explore what I love so much about museums and turn it into an academic path and eventual career. While finishing up my graduate program in Museum Studies I embarked upon an internship here at Chucalissa, and, over 4 years later, am still here!
What is the most challenging aspect of running a small museum?
The most challenging aspect of running a small museum is that there is no typical visitor, school group, situation, or daily routine, and sometimes things can get quite chaotic! This is also the most rewarding aspect of running a small museum- at the end of each day you really feel as though you accomplished something tangible, be that through interaction with a visitor, collaboration on a project, or small achievements towards an institutional goal.
What is the one thing that surprised you about working at Chucalissa?
That people still think this place is closed! But seriously, I am continually surprised at the number of lifelong Memphians who have never visited, or known the Museum existed, and am excited that they have finally made it our for a tour. I am also always surprised by the number of international visitors we host, and how knowledgeable they are regarding Native American history- I learn something from them every day!
What was the funniest thing to happen to you during your time at Chucalissa?
I’m admittedly not a huge fan of nature, and I scare easily, so the funniest moments have always involved me scaring myself or unintentionally interacting with the vast wild life here at the Museum. Also, this.- link to Kiran’s blog, the “alligator” video
What is the one thing you have learned about yourself as a person from your time here at Chucalissa?
I have learned that even though I am only one person, and I certainly don’t have all of the answers, or even a few of the answers, my professional efforts can make a huge difference in the education and cultural perceptions of a visitor, and the relationship of a community.
Aside from anything you learned in the classroom, what would you say has been your biggest life lesson?
Elsie de Wolfe – “Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.”
I have truly enjoyed my time at Chucalissa, and will miss the staff, our visitors, and blog readers! I can always be contacted at Rachael.firstname.lastname@example.org, please say hello if ever coming through Chattanooga!