All posts by Maria

The Next Generation

I’ve always said I don’t like taking work home however I’ve always found saying that is easier than accomplishing it!

When I first started out in this industry, I was what you would call a backstage roadie dealing with the logistics of international exhibitions with a well known company in Spain. I found that gave me a very different perspective when I went to museums in my own free time. I’d notice if things were not hung level, when labels were missing, when the support to a piece looked funny and even when the paint job was a little off.

If I had worked on a show I’d know all the details of what really went on behind the scenes. Despite the beauty or importance of a piece, if something had delayed it’s arrival or an issue had arisen with it it’s all I would be able to focus on (though seeing it in its spot made me sigh with relief). If i hadn’t worked on the show I wondered how things had been packed, handled an transported. What crates were used/ built?

Most people don’t notice clearance levels in hallways, stairwells or door frames but I did. There was no avoiding looking at access points and loading docks differently, no matter where I went! I know what fits and what doesn’t on standard international palletized flights and whenever I’m on a plane I can’t help but wonder what that belly holds apart from luggage.

My husband likes to say I’m a little bit of a control freak so the shoe fits with this industry. When I transferred over to the museum side my experience helped me greatly and my slightly OCD side was complemented in my day to day tasks as a Collections Manager/ Registrar. In front of me I had a whole collection that needed TLC. The thought of re-organizing, re-housing and properly inventorying everything was like throwing a kid in a toy store!

I didn’t realize just how much my job influenced my life until I one day when my daughter was sorting through some stickers and did this:


It was then that I realized why no babysitter was ever able to follow my toy storage technique. All musical toys go in one bin, all sorting/ stacking toys go in another bin, toys that roll in another and so on. I was bringing work home and passing it on to my littles! Suddenly I realized why she liked to neatly stack coasters and freaked out in stores when items were off their shelf and on the floor. I knew then I had a very important responsibility: to train the next generation!

I’m hoping I’ll be able to live up to the task, at least that way her room will be clean and she’ll understand the importance of a proper IPM plan!

Maria C. O’Malley