View Full Version : Hello from Seattle!

03-18-2016, 02:02 PM
Hello, I'm new! In so many ways. I'm working for the EMP Museum as a shop assistant building large scenic pieces and my manager suggested I look into mount making. I'm taking a jewelry making class (was told this was the most applicable), have joined this board, just started learning from a senior mount maker in my area, and I'm hoping to attend the forum in May. I'm looking into getting a Certificate of Museum Studies from the UW and just applied for a job as an art handler to get some more hands-on experience with delicate items.

So this is where I am currently. I'm really lucky in that I have quite a few people in the industry helping me, but I'd always love more insight. I've read through a few of the intro posts asking about training (super helpful!), but I have a few more questions about your experiences.

Is there anything you wish you knew about the museum industry going into it?
Is there anything you wish you had trained for from the beginning?
What has been your greatest asset?
What has been your greatest hang-up?
Are there any other questions I should really be asking?

Thanks for reading and responding!

Paul Brewin
03-20-2016, 12:14 PM
Welcome Chris! Sounds like you are doing all the right things to develop your talents. For mountmaking, a colleague attended a week long seminar at Benchmark and it was invaluable - expensive too. Are you part of the mountmakers forum?

As far as your questions, I'll do a couple:

What has been your greatest asset?
Staying intent on improving methods. Museums are insular work environments and it's easy to get stuck doing things the same way that someone taught you. Being involved in groups like this is great, asking questions of other museum professionals in your area of from different disciplines can be helpful, and the private sector in related trades can't be overlooked since they may employ more effective skills to get work done more efficiently as opposed to museums that aren't as bottom-line driven.

What has been your greatest hang-up?
Staying focused on projects that you have reservations about. Whether it's the subject matter, the design treatment, lack of support, questions about the value of an exhibition - it's a challenge (as it would be with any job) to keep the interest and passion for the work. That's where my answer for the first question helps me: be inventive, explore different angles for accomplishing tasks and problems, keep learning and developing your talents. If you're like other preparators, you're into tools, equipment, hardware, and customizing any and all of that to make things work for you, and that's what can sustain you through otherwise unrewarding projects.

Cheers, and good luck!

Mark Wamaling
03-28-2016, 02:04 PM

Welcome to PACCIN! We will be having a one day workshop in Seattle at the Museum of History and Industry on June 4th. Details will be coming out here on the website and on the Listserv soon. Stay tuned!

03-29-2016, 01:32 PM
Hey guys, and thanks for responding!

Paul - I've been reading the mountmaker forum on here quite a bit. Is there another one you were thinking of? I'm so green, I'm a bit nervous to actually say anything in there. ;)

Mark - Awesome! I will keep that day open! Thanks for the info.

T. Ashley McGrew
03-29-2016, 10:17 PM
Hi Chris,
PACCIN includes and connects all kinds of individuals and organizations. As an "information network" that is our forte. Mountmaking as a specific discipline within the overall culture of preventive conservation is represented on the PACCIN website's forum but many members (myself included) are also members of the google group IMF - International Mountmaking Forum
For related links check out information on the AIC wiki mountmaking page -
Glad you are on board and I hope you enjoy visiting with colleagues at the next event in your area!

Jamie Hascall
03-31-2016, 10:32 PM
Hi Chris,
It's great to see that you've met this great group of pros. PACCIN is a fine resource and is just taking off in developing new networks for all of us that work in the museums. I'm sure you'll be right at home.

For the group: I met Chris while working on an exhibit at Experience Music Project. She got wind of the mountmaking I was doing and made a point of connecting with me and asking what this job was all about. She came to my studio for a lesson in basic brazing and mountmaking, and has taken it upon herself to take a jewelry class at Pratt Institute. It looks like she'll be attending the Mountmaking Forum in Cleveland to see the wider world of mountmaking and then we'll look at the next level of training. With her strong interest, aptitude, and commitment to learning, I'm really looking forward to seeing where Chris' talent will take her.