Meet an EMP: Amy Hussey

Years in Museum Field: 5

Degrees/Certificates: The University of the Arts – Philadelphia, PA
Masters in Museum Communication, 2011

Lehigh University – Bethlehem, PA
Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Art History with a minor in Museum Studies, 2009

Current Occupation: Registrar at Delaware Art Museum

Previous Museum Experience: Philadelphia Museum of Art – Philadelphia, PA
Registrar for Collections Move
January – July 2013

National Constitution Center – Philadelphia, PA
Assistant Registrar
April 2011 – December 2012

Center for Art in Wood – Philadelphia, PA
Exhibitions Intern
May – August 2011

National Constitution Center – Philadelphia, PA
Public Relations Intern
January – May 2011

Philadelphia Museum of Art – Philadelphia, PA
Registrar Intern
August 2010 – March 2011

Lehigh University Art Galleries – Bethlehem, PA
Collections Management Assistant
November 2009 – May 2010

The Frick Collection – New York, NY
Photo Archive Intern
June – August 2008

American Museum of Natural History – New York, NY
Special Exhibitions Intern
July – August 2007

Other Relevant Work Experience:  Cavalier Galleries, Inc – Greenwich, CT
Gallery Intern
May – August 2010

Aicon Gallery – New York, NY
Gallery Intern
May – August 2009

Did a mentor play a significant role in your career development? Ricardo Viera, the head of the Museum Studies department at Lehigh University and the Director of the Lehigh University Art Galleries. Ricardo had the most energy and passion for museum work. He taught me that this field could be incredibly difficult, but very rewarding. He taught all of my courses in museum studies, helped me secure summer internships in New York, helped me establish connections in Philadelphia for graduate school and still checks in with me today.

Also, Nicola Tannenbaum, the Chair of the Anthropology and Sociology department at Lehigh University. She helped me establish research skills in the study of anthropology that I now apply in many facets of my job. She was also unbelievably patient in helping me write my thesis and learn to edit hundreds of pages, multiple times.

The rule is that your professors continue to be helpful well after the semester is over, and even after you’ve graduated.

How does your current position fit into your career plan? I always wanted to work behind the scenes with a museum collection, particularly with an art collection. I wanted to work in storage and with inventorying and cataloguing works. I currently work as a Registrar focusing on the permanent collection. I handle incoming gifts and purchases to the collection, as well as, incoming and outgoing loans. Additionally, I manage rights and reproductions requests of images from the permanent collection.

I currently am focusing on the preservation and updating needs of time-based media works, which is what I researched for my Masters thesis. Ideally I would like to continue with this research in my Registrar position and assist with creating standards and templates for managing contemporary works.

What museum organizations do you belong to? Philly EMP, American Alliance of Museums, Museum Council of Philadelphia

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you began in this profession? It’s going to take a lot of internships and odd jobs to get your foot in the door, but it’s incredibly important to make connections and gain experience in the field whenever possible.

Every task is important, will teach you something, and be useful in the future, (whether you like it/believe it or not).

Most importantly, to be patient. Hold out for the position that you truly want even if it might take longer to get.

What do you enjoy most about your position? I most enjoy working in storage and in the permanent collection database; handling and documenting all the details of an artwork. I enjoy working at a smaller sized museum; where you can have a grasp of the entire collection and work closely with a more familiar staff.

What is it that keeps you engaged at work? There is always something new to do every day, both at my desk and up in the galleries or down in storage. The position includes a variety of activities, but is always based in caring for the collection.

Amy’s family moved to Connecticut just outside Manhattan when she was five. Amy’s parents wanted to immerse Amy and her sister in all the cultural opportunities the city had to offer, including museums. On her first visit, Amy instantly fell in love with the Ancient Egyptian galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Amy grew up studying archaeology and later in high school decided she wanted to work in a museum caring for ancient artifacts.

In college Amy discovered art history and it broadened her interest in museum collections. Amy has since taken every opportunity to work in collections management, including working in natural history and history museums, as well as, art galleries. Her goal was to eventually work as a Collections Manager or Registrar in an art museum.

Fun Fact: Amy’s favorite museums outside of Philadelphia include the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Woolaroc in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

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